If you’re an automotive enthusiast, you’ve probably already heard of Northside Autosports. They are the main brand operating under the parent company of Northside Alliance Group (NAG) and are known as Canada’s fastest growing aftermarket automotive chain – with good reason!
The reason behind that claim is simple. Northside Autosports are doing what no one else does. And they do it well, providing an unmatched level of product and service to their clients, and intensive training and support to their franchisees.
In October 2002, after two years of home-based operations, Graham Ovenden opened a “Northside Automotive” location in Halton Hills, Ontario. The outlet quickly grew in popularity and was soon drawing customers in from as much as a two hour drive away. The outlet operated as the region’s first “automotive speciality shop.” In 2004 Graham and his team added to this proven concept by adding in detailing services, tire and wheel service,
a full range of installations, audio and security sales and a large selection of other items. Basically the concept was turning into the location for everything standard garages and dealerships had trouble servicing and selling. And it was all in one place.
By 2005 the business had grown into a 4000 square foot outlet in Halton Hills, servicing upwards of 3000 retail customers and over 100 standard garages and dealerships in the area. In 2008 the company expanded into York region, opening its second location in Vaughan, Ontario.
In 2009, Graham and his team announced the opening of a new company (Northside Alliance Group O/A “Northside Autosports”) for the exclusive and dedicated purpose of building relationships with strong retailers, as a franchise.
Northside Autosports: a Three-Fold Concept
Sales – From the sales floor all locations have access to the top brands in tires, wheels, performance parts, audio & security parts, vehicle outfitting parts, accessories, exhaust & muffler supply, synthetic lubricants, and a ton more. If it’s made and distributed in North America the team will find it!
Detailing and Polishing – All locations are fully equipped to deal with all detailing and polishing needs. The brand specializes in complete packages and services for retail clients, fleets, dealerships and garage business.
Specialty Installations and Service – All performance modifications, hitch installations, accessory installations, audio installations, security installations, etc. Everything sold at Northside Autosports can also be installed and serviced on site.
Currently there are eight Northside Autosports locations in operation, five in the Greater Toronto Area, one in Ottawa, and one in Winnipeg. There is an additional ten franchises units in the planning stages in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and in other parts of Ontario.
NAG feels that rapid growth is needed, at a rate of one unit opening approximately ever month, but is careful to not allow this growth to exceed its ability to properly support its systems. The protocols which it needs to follow to properly approve someone for a franchise also gives the brand an added layer of security protocol to protect from this ever happening.
Northside Autosports is the amalgamation of everything the service industry has to offer outside of what your normal mechanic and dealer does. Their focus is selling and installing new technologies/modifying vehicles for varying uses (performance, fuel mileage, commercial conversion for work, etc). There will be always be a demand for vehicle modifications of some type.
Northside Autosports has built relationships with over 50 global supply and distribution companies, allowing their franchisees access to over 10,000 different brands, more items than 99 percent of the North American competition, without requiring a large amount of inventory on site. The suppliers believe in the concept and are diligently working at ways to provide stronger logistical solutions, allowing Northside Autosports to not only be a market leader but be the first to put all specialty facets of the automotive market under one roof, in an easy to use business system. Northside Autosports is a similar to a department store in the range of products it offers, and is a truly versatile business concept which is of high interest to several high impact demographics (enthusiast buying, professional firms, high-end luxury purchases, contractor supply, high-end vehicle maintenance).
All outlets work off similar floor plans, and break down their offerings into three main areas: sales floor, detailing area, service and installation area. Consistency is a staple throughout the concept. Most inventory on the sales floor is deemed “point of sale” only. This keeps the showrooms easy to maintain, keeps inventory costs to a minimal level, and allows the franchisee to maintain a consistent floor plan and feel to the location’s showroom at all times.
Becoming a Franchisee
The initial investment for a tier one location is about $109,000. That’s the full investment, with approximately $29,000 required as an initial investment. Franchisees need to have a passion for the automotive industry, and also be trainable. Management experience or a sales and marketing background are also key assets. Franchisees don’t need to be mechanics, but if they choose to offer standard service, they would need to hire trained mechanic staff. In terms of location, a 1300-5000 square foot facility is required, including a storefront, drainage, GFI outlets, and space to incorporate a life, tire machines, a compressor, and an area for servicing.
Northside Automotive provides two levels of training for all franchisees. Some of the Level One modules can be completed at home and cover topics such as: Managing Employees, Managing and Understanding Customers, Managing Business Systems, Administration, Relationship Building, Marketing, and Operating Protocol Review.
Level Two training is generally administered by trainers at your location once construction is complete, andconsists of 8-10 specific training modules which cover the basics of all servicefacets of the concept (performance
upgrades, detailing, polishing, audio, truck and van accessories, etc). Regardless of the franchisees previous experience, all applicants must complete the Level Two course, to maintain brand consistency.
At the end of both levels of training all applicants complete their “MQ1” multiple choice qualification test. Completion of this test, with a grade of 85 percent or higher, qualifies one to run a Northside Autosports location.
NAG provides a full range of support for their franchisees. There are grand opening campaigns pre-planned to help with opening a new location. “Health franchisor in depth check audits” examine the appearance, marketing, sales, management and protocol implementation of each unit. Website and internet marketing support and strategies are in place, including social media support. A localized quarterly marketing plan review ensures maximum impact and consistency with national marketing campaigns. All of these support strategies are implemented by a head office support team who take a keen interest in the success of each of their franchisees.
In 2012, NAG launched their second brand, Dominion Auto Centres, which will have three locations opening in early 2013. Dominion Auto Centres is a basic service garage which also does windshield chip repair, towing and hitches, tires and more. This concept is a smaller version of what is in the market right now with a lower operating budget and lower consumer costs of service.
“With both of our brands, we look for franchisees who are personable, with good networking ability,” says company founder Graham Ovenden. “Passion for cars is also something that has to be in there.”
For more information, contact Northside Alliance Group: