When it comes to truck and automotive accessories, a bigger selection of available products is always better. Grandwest Enterprises Inc., formed in 1980, is the largest wholesale distributor of automotive and truck accessories in Canada.
Supplying registered dealers from coast-to-coast for over three decades, Grandwest provides the highest level of customer service in the industry.
A combination of highly informed staff, online access, same day shipping, and the largest product inventory selection in the truck and automotive accessories sector has made Grandwest Enterprises one of the most respected of its kind in Canada.
The company has approximately 190,000 square feet at its present facility at 815 Circle Drive East in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Its sheer size and an impressive selection of thousands of truck and automotive accessories enable Grandwest to ship items quickly to registered distributors.
“We prefer to have one location, as long as we can service our customers properly,” says Brian Pierce, vice-president of sales and marketing at Grandwest. He adds that the company’s central Canadian location enables it to ship products east or west with ease. “We can probably get to seventy percent of our customers overnight, and overnight shipping is a big thing with our customers, who may be not stocking as much as they used to in the past.”
Clients depend on Grandwest for the service and to have the product in stock. Brian says that having the product that the customer needs, when the customer needs it, is one of the factors that have helped the company grow. “It is pretty tough to sell off an empty shelf, and so that’s one thing Grandwest has always been very concerned with, having the proper inventory for the customer.”
Starting as a very small distribution company with three different products, Grandwest Enterprises now supplies over 350 product lines. The company has everything from tool boxes to bumpers, towing accessories to suspensions, lift kits, tonneau covers and much more. “Our product line and offerings have expanded immensely,” comments Pierce, who joined the then-small company in 1986. “There were a dozen employees at the most, and now we’re sitting at approximately 120 employees.”
Grandwest, according to Pierce, is “a true WD (warehouse distributor).” Known industry-wide for its highly knowledgeable sales staff, the company prides itself on listening to and respecting customer needs and wants for automotive and truck accessories.
Among the many features of the company’s interactive website are an easy-to-use parts look-up, search engine and ordering system, stock and price check, current sales flyers and online specials, manufacturer’s rebates and promotions and order history, exclusively for its dealers through a secured, password-protected login.
While online searching and ordering is becoming increasingly popular, approximately 5,000 customers across Canada look forward to receiving the new print catalogue every year. Boasting over 979 pages packed with product information, photos, specifications and more, the Grandwest Enterprises catalogue has become the industry bible of automotive and truck accessories across Canada, detailing all products from Access tonneau covers to Zone suspension lift kits and everything in between.
“If you go to any dealer or jobber, particularly in western Canada, and ask about truck accessories, they will pull out the Grandwest catalogue,” comments Pierce. “We even find some of our competitors using our catalogue, because they don’t have one that’s up to the same standards as ours. We are very proud of our catalogue and have been for many years. It is known as the industry standard.”
Grandwest Enterprises credits much of its success to its extensive product selection and its friendly staff. To better understand the driving experience, staff source, test, and research products and pass their considerable knowledge on to the company’s customers. Of the company’s 120 staff, many are long-term employees; over half have been with the company for five years or longer. Over thirty percent have been with Grandwest for ten years or more.
“We are a WD (warehouse distributor), so we sell direct to a group of qualified customers that we’ve set up in our dealer network,” says Pierce. He says that the company is one of the only true warehouse distributors in the country, and does not sell to the general public. “That benefits our customers because we are not in competition with them.”
Grandwest’s eleven-strong outside sales force travels across Canada door-knocking to form partnerships with dealers. To further complement their vast product knowledge, the company’s sales force travels in fully accessorized trucks that serve as rolling showrooms, allowing customers to see, feel, and try products.
“I think that brings confidence to our customers,” states Pierce. “We are using the products, and we’ve got them on our vehicles.”
To ensure product selection and availability, the company’s massive warehouse in Saskatoon utilizes integrated business software to track inventory, sales, reports, and more. The company regularly monitors inventory for products that may be obsolete or fail to meet specific sales targets and it regularly keeps customers informed of new items on its website.
The company works closely with its vendors who have solid, long-standing industry reputations and popular branding. “Everyone wants to get a good price, but people do want popular brands.” Every month, a new product is featured, and the company continues to source and test the best products from quality manufacturers.
In many cases, customers determine which products Grandwest will keep and which ones it will discontinue. Like the fashion industry, truck and automobile accessories often follow trends; one year, chrome grills are popular, and the next year, monochromatic or black is all the rage.
“We talk to our customers, ask them their needs and what they are wanting,” says Pierce. The company regularly monitors market trends to see what’s hot, attends industry shows to see new products, works with sales staff who show products to customers, and – if the responses favourable – seeks out a proper vendor to bring it into inventory.
Additionally, customers can review all of the company’s suppliers alphabetically, with all listings linked directly to the manufacturer’s websites for additional information. It continues to offer more product variety to meet customer demand.
Grandwest has experienced rapid growth, particularly over the last decade as accessorizing became more popular. The company moved into its present facility at 815 Circle Drive East in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1989. The latest phase of its growth was completed in 2013, and the company is eyeing the next stage of its expansion which will include more office and warehouse space, products and a broader customer base in the coming years.
“At Grandwest, we believe we are the largest distributor of automotive and truck accessories in Canada, and we want to keep that trend going, and to do so, you always have to be seeking out new markets and new products to take to our customers,” says Pierce. He believes that the most significant factor of future growth will still be that customer service. “I believe that’s why we’ve grown as we have, because of the excellent customer service and earning our customers loyalty, and giving them that service.”