Reid Brother's has come a long way from the time Stanley Reid finalized car deals around farm house kitchen tables. This General Motors dealership celebrated its 50th anniversary in August of 2004. Stanley and his brother Carlton purchased the dealership in August 1954 and opened its doors as Reid Brothers on September 1. Stanley's sons, Robert and Eddie, continue in their footsteps, so the name has stayed the same. However, with all the changes to the car business in the past 50 years, the company has several transformations, including three locations. But many of its early customers keep coming back time and time again thanks to the outstanding service and impressive selection of popular models like the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox.
Stanley Reid began selling the occasional used car after coming home to Marathon Valley in the Kinburn-Carp area after the Second World War. His father Alfred "Alfie" Reid was a cattle dealer and took him on rounds to various farms giving him an "in" to make his car deals. Stanley then got into the used car business more seriously, for a time working in Renfrew, before starting his own lot in downtown Arnprior about 1950. It was located across John Street from the Bank of Nova Scotia where the Gallery Gift Shop now stands. In 1954 he & his brother Carlton, who was a successful banker with Bank of Nova Scotia, bought the local General Motors dealership from the Wood family & Reid Brothers was born. The business set up across from the town hall, with a body shop where Randy Whyte's dentist office is now located. Later, the business expanded adding a used car lot on what eventually became the Kingburger on Madawaska Boulevard and is now occupied by Mama Rosa's restaurant.
In 1968, Reid Brothers moved to its current address on Madawaska Boulevard, taking over the space from a Rambler dealership & a Western Tire that was owned by the Short family. Sons Ed joined the business in the late 1960's & Robert in the early 1970's.
Robert Reid notes that the dealership's "bread & butter" has always been its many loyal Arnprior customers. Some customers have bought dozens of cars from Reid Brothers dating back to the 1960's. However, the dealership has also sold cars to residents from all over the Ottawa Valley from Pembroke to Ottawa and beyond. There's no reason why an Arnprior dealership can't sell cars to Ottawa residents, says Robert, noting "the road runs both ways".
Loyal customers and hard-working, dedicated employees have been the basis of the dealership's success, says Robert. "They (the staff) have done a great job keeping the customers satisfied. I'd like to think it's the cars, but it's about the people".
Of course, the cars do play a major part in our success too. The business began as a Pontiac Buick & GMC dealership, with Cadillac added in 1956. In 1996, it merged, taking over selling Chevrolet models when Denata Chevrolet Oldsmobile was purchased from the Grandmaison family. "If GM has it, we sell it", Robert Reid, noting that GMC and Chevy trucks have always been a big sell in this area.
Robert has seen many changes in his 20 years in the business, one of the main ones being the improvement in the quality of the cars. "There's no such thing as a bad car today", he said. "They're made consistently well". He's seen a change in attitude regarding gas consumption too. There was a time when 12 miles to the gallon was considered excellent, he said. Today's motorists tend to drive their car more, so durability is a big factor, he said.
Another big change is the way of doing business. "My father had a very strong belief that the customer doesn't come to us, we go to them," he said, explaining that he sent sales people out to make deals. "They went to Quebec; they had routes all over." That stemmed from his early success in making car deals around kitchen tables, said Robert.
The 21st century has brought great change to the town of Arnprior, as well as Reid Brothers. In 2004, a new section of the Trans Canada Highway has opened with a full four lanes from Arnprior to Ottawa. In April of 2005, Reid Brothers, with the help of M. Sullivan & Son construction, embarked on a major renovation and construction project in accordance with GM's Image program to upgrade all GM dealerships across the country. The project was completed in November of 2005 with a brand-new showroom and state of the art facilities. The new building was dedicated to the memory of Stanley Reid, & a portrait of him proudly oversees the showroom today. Reid Brothers is also in its third generation of family involvement, with Maureen and Stanley's grandson Trevor Reid being named General Manager in 2006.
Progress and innovation has been a staple of the automotive industry over the years, and it showed up again in 2014. That year marked yet another major renovation to the Reid Brother's showroom in accordance with GM's image program. A whole new exterior was installed on the building, again with the help of local contractors M. Sullivan & Son. A major renovation of the service waiting area was also done to make customers time spent here comfortable and enjoyable. Free Wi-Fi, digital TV, a children's play area & complimentary coffee are just some of the things added for customers to enjoy.