NANAIMO – What is the ‘60 minute rule’?
At Berk’s Intertruck, this rule is driving the company’s aggressive expansion, as it strives to ensure every client on Vancouver Island is within 60 minutes of a service provider.
Berk’s Intertruck is a truck and trailer sales, all-makes parts and service provider, specializing in commercial Isuzu and Volvo trucks, and Canuck and Felling trailers.
With a diverse team of technicians and expanding parts inventory, the company will work on just about anything with wheels, tracks, or a rudder from its locations in Nanaimo, Duke Point, Duncan, Port Alberni, and Langford.
“We want to be close to our customers no matter where they are on the Island,” says owner Brian Sabourin. “We have reach from Victoria to Port Hardy, and where we don’t have locations, we have strategic partnerships in place to help our customers anywhere their business takes them on the Island.”
According to Sabourin, Berk’s will continue to focus exclusively on this region.
“For today, and for the future, our intent is to have our parts and service available from the bottom to the top, and from the east to the west coast of the Island,” he continues. “We’re getting closer to that as we speak, but we can always improve on what we have and continue to grow.”
Last year, the company launched its fifth location at Duke Point, and in August of this year, purchased and moved into a newer facility. With this acquisition they have applied for approval from Transport Canada.
When finalized, this approval will allow the team at this facility to install, inspect, and certify fuel tank transport truck and trailers. It will be one of only a few legal inspection certified facilities on the island.
As of October, the Duke Point location is open Monday thru Friday until 11:00 p.m.. Upcoming construction on the facility will result in a 15-foot width increase of the building, adding an additional two full drive throughs.
A similar expansion is underway at the Duncan location, which is also adding two drive throughs. As of October this location is now open longer hours, Monday thru Friday until 9:00 p.m. Sabourin and his team are currently working with a firm to design and draft expansions of both the Duncan and Duke Point locations. He estimates that both projects will be complete within the next 12 to 18 months.
“Right now, the Langford location is a parts-only facility, but we intend to expand it to a parts and service facility in the next two years,” says Sabourin. “We’re in discussion with the manager of the building, and we intend to either expand there or relocate to either a existing building or a new facility.”
Additionally, the company is looking for commercial transport technicians and parts department employees in all five of their locations.
“We’ve already hired quite a few new employees,” he says. “Over the last three months, we’ve increased our workforce by over 25 per cent, and we’re still looking to hire more people.”
Sabourin’s father, Berk, founded the company in 1971, after ascending the ranks at International Harvester.
“He was the sales manager for British Columbia, when they offered him an opportunity to move to the U.S. and become the company’s Vice President,” says Sabourin. “But after much thought he decided that he could do so much more as a dealer.”
Berk negotiated with International on an opportunity to purchase a company store and bought the existing Nanaimo location.
“I was 14 when we moved here and worked part-time washing & cleaning new and used trucks on the sales lot,” Sabourin says. “When I finished high school, I was looking at different opportunities abroad. My father suggested that I should take some time and work for him while I thought about where I wanted to go, so I took on full-time work in shipping and receiving.”
Sabourin decided that he wanted to stay in Nanaimo and remain with the family business.
“I was young, and there was a lot happening with the world,” he continues, “But over time, through meeting the love of my life, raising a family, and now having grandchildren, and giving back to or investing in the community, I found that this was for me. This is home.”
I’ve seen a lot of businesses and people come and go in the 47 years Berk’s Intertruck has been open and truthfully common sense, family values, hard work, and dedication make a big difference. Look after your people and they’ll look after you, your business and your customers.
As the company continues its rapid expansion, Sabourin’s vision remains Island-focussed. Currently, the company is looking for acreage between Nanoose and Cedar to facilitate the next major project.
“I’ve always wanted to build a state-of-the-art dealership that would provide facilities for the commercial transport industry,” he says. “I would include a big truck stop with a cafeteria, truck wash facilities, showers, and other amenities.
“When you travel across North America, you see these kinds of stops all over the place. We could make it happen at a new location, or at one of our existing facilities, like our Duke Point location. The possibilities are endless!”