Gordons Trailer Sales & Rentals: The Fun Side Of The Business
By Scott A. Sumner
The fun side of the business for Frank Vettraino, Controller of Gordon Trailer Sales & Rentals are the Ski Doo, Sea Doo and Can Am ATV products from Bombardier they began to sell some 5 years ago. "I act as manager of the fun stuff and oversee the accounting area but my main focus is what to buy and what we will sell in the recreational products area", smiles Frank Vettraino. Ive been riding snowmobiles, ATV's and Sea Doos for a long time and I love it. It is a great way to get out and relieve some stress.
The Gordon Trailer Sales & Rentals company is actually some 30 years old starting in central Thunder Bay and now at the Twin City Crossroads location. They have a 10,000 square foot office, parts and showroom building and a 7500 square foot shop. Gordon Hay was the founder of the company and sold it to Jeff Campbell quite some time ago. "We started with industrial type units to supply mining or logging companies with 200 to 400 man camp settings complete with sleep quarters, kitchens and washroom facilities. That was the start of the company in the boom times of NW Ontario and in 1989 the demand for those products started to decline," states Vettraino. "We are licensed by the government as a manufacturer to produce a product used on the highways like a trailer pulled behind a transport truck or half ton. We also manufacture portable schools or office buildings. In fact we have manufactured office structures for up north that were put into place by helicopters. Today we work with a lot of different products and the manufacturing is a major part of our business."
"I came on board in the early 90s and we started selling RVs some 9 years ago to augment what we do at the retail level. From there we went into what we call the 'fun product lines' and now use the phrase '4 seasons of fun'", notes Vettraino. "Because of my love for the recreational sports I decided to bring in Bombardier products with snowmobiles, ATVs, Sea Doos and Sport boats. It is a Canadian company and my favourite brand to ride. Shortly thereafter we got into the outboard motors with Suzuki, Evinrude, Johnson, Mercury as well as Prince craft and Starcraft boats."
The fun business has done quite well for Gordon Trailer Sales & Rentals dispite our current economic conditions. "The economy is not doing what it should be doing and is a little weak in terms of the forestry industry. We are all consumers and we tend to shy off buying the fun stuff if our economic future is uncertain, or we dont know what direction we may take. Recreation has been a steady business for us though," states Vettraino. "If we weren't so diversified beyond the recreational products business, we wouldn t be so large with 25 full time employees." About 15 or 16 years Gordon Trailer Sales & Rentals moved to their current site at the Twin City Crossroads and Hwy 17. They manufactured their own complex, offices, parts area and showroom to showcase their abilities.
"I like the new Blizzard and XRS sleds from Ski Doo. They are a nice design with a REV platform and an enthusiasts sled. Most of the products are going in that direction. They have a heavy duty shock system designed for a bit of a pounding so overall it is the sports car of snowmobiles," notes Vettraino. "The REV came out 4 years ago and has revolutionized the sport. In my personal experience riding different machines I believe the REV has the nicest ride on the market. It is like riding a motorcycle or ATV as you are sitting a little higher and more forward. We have been doing quite well with Ski Doo. Ski Doo holds the largest market share in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Canada I believe."
"A lot of the individuals who acquire these sleds work in the forestry area or in a spin off of the forestry industry so we have to see how things go there. Hopefully with the guidance of the governments we will see improvement in this area," states Vettraino. "In snowmobiles we tend to stay with out local market to be able to offer the service. We have a great service team that are constantly learning with new training. Bombardier are happy with our work as we changed the way of doing business away from the Ma and Pop type store to a more professional approach."