They’re Not Just Businesses: First, They’re Employers

This month’s research expedition led the #ChooseTBayFirst team into the showrooms, garages and front offices of Thunder Bay’s automotive sector, where we were reminded of the TBay Two Degree Rule: In Thunder Bay there are only two degrees of separation between people, or “Either you know the person, or you know someone they know.”

The Two Degree Rule means that when you walk into a car dealership, a garage, a parts or glass place or a rental outfit, you either know someone employed there or someone who knows someone who works there. By choosing to spend your money at a TBay automotive business, you’re supporting well-paying jobs for people you’re connected to, which means you’re also supporting local home ownership and local property taxes.

Most of the businesses we interviewed in the automotive sector had between 15 and 25 employees, most of which were full-time. Halfway Motors Nissan, the largest case study, employs 48 full-time staff between the dealership and sister business Car-Star, along with two part-time students. Done-Rite Auto and sister business Fat Guys Auto Parts are responsible for almost 50 local jobs between them. Floyd’s Auto & Plate Glass has 15 staff, and Spadoni Leasing employs 20. But staff jobs are only part of the picture.

The best part about our interviews with members of the auto sector was their commitment to supporting other local businesses. Even our smallest case study, D&M Auto, which employs four people, spoke strongly about their commitment to working only with local suppliers. In fact, it looks like the auto sector in Thunder Bay understands the TBay Two Degree Rule better than anyone, and why it’s so important to support other local businesses.

“The staff and owners of other local businesses are our customers,” says John Trevisanutto of Halfway Motors Nissan. “Our customers need to be able to afford cars, and they need jobs for that. When we support their employers, we support their jobs. It’s our way of both earning their business and helping to make sure there’s business for us to earn. We all need to support each other.”

In other words, when you buy from a TBay automotive business, you’re supporting local jobs in their suppliers’ shops too.