EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of online profiles on eight local vehicle dealerships in Cornwall and area that have signed on to take part in our Win A Car promotion. Check back regularly over the next few weeks for more.
CORNWALL, Ontario – The age of the Internet, and high-speed telecommunications has forced many businesses to change their model, and in some cases has become the death knell of others.
But in the automotive industry things are different. Many dealerships have been able to thrive in an era when a person can use their phone to search for new and used vehicles, before trekking out to the lot to see cars and trucks for themselves.
It wasn’t like that back in 1963 when Roy’s Chevrolet Buick GMC Truck Centre opened its doors – but ownership at the dealership is so glad those days are here now.
Sylvie Anne Labonté, the principle owner of Roy’s, said during 50th anniversary celebrations at the Green Valley dealership that the advent of things like the Internet has helped her business to grow.
“That…and the loyal customers we have here that keep coming back,” she said.
Green Valley is kind of out of the way for many who live in large urban centres. Its closest municipal neighbour is Alexandria, but after that its Cornwall, which is 30 minutes down the road. Walk-up tire kickers and potential customers can be difficult to come by in a scenario like that.
But now that car-buyers can jump on the ‘Net to breeze through an inventory, their trip to places like Roy’s is an investment in time because they already know what they’re looking for, before they even set foot on the lot.
“It has really made things easier for the customer,” said Labonté, whose late husband Robert, a Gatineau native, purchased the dealership in 1989.
The dealership was started in 1963 by brothers Roger and Gilles Roy that formerly owned a used car dealership. When General Motors opted to have a second dealership in the Glengarry area, having Glengarry Motor Sales down the road from the future site of Roy’s Garage, the Roy brothers were the first ones approached. They built the dealership from a White Rose gas station. Roger became the dealer principal and Gilles the service manager.