Few businesses these days can say that they are turning the corner on nearly a century in operation, and even fewer can say that in that time and over the course of several owners, that the same quality of work and customer service one could have expected in the thirties is right where they left it today, in 2021.
Andrew McDonald may be just the latest owner to carry the torch for Maritime Auto, but he’s aiming to keep the historic Atlantic auto recycler in the winning lane—and so far, he’s been getting it done.
“Maritime Auto Parts has been running since 1932, so we’re very old; we’re 89 this year,” remarked McDonald proudly, in his interview with Canadian Auto Recycler. Even in the face of a global pandemic that brought a majority of businesses to a halt, McDonald and his team at Maritime Auto were able to seamlessly adapt to the changes as they came, and still come out on top. The Debert, Nova Scotia auto recycler was not completely free from challenges, however, as the pandemic forced some tough decisions on McDonald’s part.
“It was challenging in the way that you never expect to lay people off. We had to lay people off and close down the Pick-a-Part for a couple of months.
That being said, it comes back to having great staff. They understood, they were on board and they came back and had to hit the ground running. Without having good staff, I don’t think we would have been successful. I think we’ve been able to weather the storm well because we have a good team, and everybody understood their role and adapted to the changes we had to make.”
Through the hurdles, McDonald always knew he could always rely on his managers to help pick up some of the weight. “When it came to me being sidetracked with other things because of the pandemic, I had a few key staff people that stepped up and took on some roles. My managers really stepped up and took on some leadership roles and without that, I don’t know if I would have been able to get through it. We had to change so many things so fast and they were able to adapt to what was needed,” said McDonald.
However, McDonald’s tenure as owner of Maritime Auto is far from without its highlights, in spite of the generally tumultuous past year. “We bought a second facility in 2015 and we opened Maritime Pick-a-Part and I’m proud that it has been a success. I’m proud of the staff and what they’ve done with the place,” said McDonald.
He isn’t stopping there however, as the business continues to plan for “modest” growth over the coming years.
“We would like to buy more cars and increase our production through hiring on a few new staff. It’s all about us being able to process more vehicles,” said McDonald. “This year, we’re also gonna be focusing on tightening the screws a little bit to make sure that we are doing what we do the best.”