The automotive and commercial mechanical division of Aero Services Kal Tire may have changed hands last month, but Aero owner Lori Brown says the only change longtime customers are likely to see are a few new faces working on their cars and trucks.
Tin Hat Services owner Al Goodwin bought the mechanical repair division after approaching Brown last fall and the two parties entered into negotiations. As part of the deal, Tin Hat has brought Aero’s manager and service writer and mechanics into its fold, and Tin Hat has taken over operating the four existing repair bays at Aero’s Duncan Street location.
Both Al and Lori say the transition has been smooth and are excited about the future for both companies. Lori explains that the change of ownership affects only the one division of her company.
“Aero will still continue to operate our tire department under the Kal Tire banner as well as our automotive and industrial parts department,” says Lori. “We are very excited about this change for Aero and the change for Tin Hat as both businesses seek to serve the residents of Powell River.”
For Goodwin, the expansion of his company in Powell River has been something of a homecoming. He is a journeyman heavy duty mechanic who grew up in Powell River and worked with Lori’s brother for a few years before being pulled out of town for work opportunities. Since moving back to Powell River to start putting roots down two years ago, he had been operating his shop out of a smaller space at Adams Concrete. It became apparent, though, that he would need more workspace if he wanted to grow his company, he says.
“I just needed more space,” says Al. “The new space is great and the mechanics are good. We buy our parts through Aero and work together.”
Al says he is adjusting to his new role as a manager.
“It's been good,” he adds. “It's nice to just do the inspections and let the other guys do the bigger stuff.”
Lori says the change has also been an adjustment for her. The mechanical shop had been in Lori's family since 1973 when her father Kip Brown and his partner Andy Byrne bought it. Lori has run the shop with manager Tim Ogden since she acquired Aero almost 20 years ago.
“Mechanical has always been a part of the business; the whole idea with the sale is that we've had customers coming here for years and we didn't want to disturb that,” she says. “We wanted it to be an easy transition for them, so this is ideal. For customers coming in, a lot won't see a change. They will see some new faces, but they will continue to see familiar ones as well.”
Al says the move back to Powell River has been great for reconnecting with old friends.
“There's a lot of people I still recognize and high school colleagues who are growing their businesses,” says Al. “It's pretty cool that they are more than willing to bring their vehicles here. It's great to come home.”
As part of the deal, Tin Hat has also taken over the inspections side of the business for commercial industrial and out-of-province vehicles. Even though Tin Hat and Aero have different phone numbers, customers calling for automotive service who may not be aware of the change will be connected to Tin Hat through the building's internal phone system.
“I expect that will be the case for the next year or two,” says Lori. “When you only have mechanical repairs a couple of times a year, you may not pick up on the new number.”
Aero Services Kal Tire and Tin Hat Services are located at 7327 Duncan Street. Aero is open from 7 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday. Tin Hat is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm from Monday to Friday and is considering Saturday hours.
Aero’s phone number is 604.485.2711. Tin Hat can be reached at 604.485.4000.