Walker Group Ventures has been in the business of repairing luxury cars for more than 20 years now. What started as the acquisition of a small shop in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1994 has quickly grown into four collision repair facilities across greater Vancouver, plus one in Bellingham, Washington. The Walkers have a passion for the driving experience, and their commitment to keeping pace with the evolution of European engineering has positioned their No. 1 Collision Group and Mercedes-Benz Collision companies to become one of Canada’s largest and most sought after luxury repair facilities .
Keeping up with an industry built on speed
"We have a passion for luxury cars," says Scott Walker, Chief Operating Officer, when describing what inspires his brother Robert Walker, Chief Executive Officer, and him in business. This enthusiasm is what’s propelled them forward in this niche industry, and it continues to motivate them to evolve at the same pace as the vehicles they service.
"The industry is changing — it’s not what it was 20 years ago. You need to be tied to the brands and understand their evolution," says Scott.
"We give our employees the tools and training they need." This involves some international travel as well, to be engaged directly where the vehicles they service are originally built and sold. Vehicle technology is changing quickly as more and more high tech instruments are installed into cars. "There’s more sensors, more computers. You need to be on top of your training," Scott elaborates.
One way the company has also established themselves as key players in the industry is through the partnerships with the brands they work with, including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla, Rollsroyce and Jaguar. "They’ve seen what we can do and have been willing to come on board with us to be partners," explains Scott.
Balancing employee buy-in
It’s not enough for company ownership to be driven by passion; to run a successful, growing business, employees must have that same dedication. Scott and Robert see this in the team of staff they manage, and do everything they can to maintain and foster these qualities.
"We’ve developed a name for ourselves in the industry because of our staff, too. They are very dedicated to the brand and have bought into our image. Their service and dedication has essentially helped us to become the Nordstrom’s of the collision industry," Scott quips.
"If you surround yourself with good people and good managers, and you treat them well, not only will they take care of your business they’ll buy into what you’re doing," he continues. Both Scott and Robert have moved from very hands-on management of their shops to taking a step back and allowing their trusted General Managers and Vice President to continue the push for excellence. "We have good people," says Scott. "If we’re not here for a few days we know it’s not all going to fall apart."
Investing in facilities, training and equipment helps build this strong bond. "If staff see you’re committed to developing them professionally and personally, they believe in what you’re doing and trust what you have to say," Scott concludes.
Relationship building with your banker
Walker Group Ventures sees Canadian Western Bank (CWB) as more of an extension of their own staff and brand partners and less of an outside banking service. Over the years, CWB has noticed trends in how their business is growing and conducting their work, which helps make both parties’ lives easier says Scott.
Why choose CWB over other banks? Robert and Scott moved their banking to CWB because it all goes back to the importance of relationship building: "You can always see when the connection works. We get a good vibe and feeling when working with them," Scott says. CWB is here to support companies throughout every stage of their business.
Speak to a CWB advisor today to see how they can help your business grow.