WINCHESTER – It’s an oft-used phrase, the end of an era.
The village has seen its share of them through the years as time waits for no business owner, and the dreams of what retirement will bring ultimately begin to slip in.
For Jeff and Trudy Boyd, it is an acceptance that more time is visible in the rear-view than what is ahead of them.
So, how to use the calendar days that remain?
It’s first a recounting of the history the couple finds themselves a part of. In a story fuelled by trials and tribulations to get to here, the Boyd name is synonymous in Winchester, dating back to 1936 when WJL Boyd and Sons inked its first agreement with the Chrysler Corporation.
Sales and service were long the model that made up the 73-year arrangement.
Yet, the fall of a giant in 2009 forced the Boyds to re-evaluate the business’ needs and what could be accomplished.
Chrysler Credit had run headlong into bankruptcy, one of many company’s befallen by the then global financial crisis. To get out of the cash crunch, shifts were made to dealer financing agreements, but it wasn’t something Jeff and Trudy could find agreement with.
Without inventory financing, and without a wealthy benefactor looking to cover the costs, the couple made a move that surprised many, including themselves – they ended Boyds tenure as one of the oldest Chrysler dealerships in Canada.
The family’s patriarch, WJL, had carried the torch, and was later joined by sons Ed and Max. Jeff and Trudy entered the fold in 1984.
Despite the setback in 2009, the Boyd name persevered. New arrangements were made, with lasting connections in the industry allowing for the continuation of used vehicle sales. An agreement was also reached with OK Tire, one of Canada’s largest distributors.
Now, though, Jeff and Trudy are preparing themselves for more change.
A sale agreement was finalized last week, with the Boyds handing over ownership to Brian Girard, himself a longtime technician in the area’s automotive sector.
Girard will retire the family name in his venture, shifting to B&G Automotive, as well as owning and operating the Winchester OK Tire outlet.
“Brian gave us not only a chance to sell, but the opportunity stay on and help in the transition,” Jeff said. “He’s also adopting the staff that’s here, and for us, that was huge. We want this change to be as easy as possible for everyone, especially our customers.”
There will be a goodbye made, however. Ken Francis, who for 50 years worked the parts counter at the shop, has retired. Technician Bob Walsh, meanwhile, has marked 30 years at the shop.
Everyone else will remain in their place.
“This is not goodbye, but rather a welcome to come in and meet the new owner,” Jeff said.
Girard is eager to see through this change, adding his own touches to the business, but at the same time respecting the history that came before him.
“It’s a hell of a privilege to take over from Jeff and Trudy,” he said.
The finalization of the sale closes out a nearly two-year process, which saw Girard first look into another opportunity before he reached an agreement with the Boyds.
“I couldn’t do any of this without them,” he said. “You really couldn’t ask for nicer people.”