MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Shaun Boughen is an alternative thinker. So, it’s only natural that his business is an alternative concept as well.
Boughen is president of Upper Canada Truck Sales, a household name in the trucking industry that’s been around for more than two decades. But it’s not just any old truck sales operation. It’s what he calls “the link between those businesses that sell new trucks and the businesses that sell used trucks.” Upper Canada specializes in high-end, low-kilometer heavy-duty used trucks that are in pristine condition, and personally frontlined by Boughen himself.
Shaun Boughen with Amanda Ottogalli of Upper Canada Truck Sales
He began the business in November 1995 when he says he only had the means to buy a single truck and sell it for a profit. Over time, it transformed into the giant it is today.
Boughen was exposed to the trucking industry like many, through his father who worked for OEMs while Boughen was growing up. As he grew older, Boughen entered the industry as a truck buyer, but true to character he didn’t work a regular schedule. Instead he worked one year on and one year off, allowing him to travel to 65 countries over his lifetime.
Today, he says the business is flourishing. In fact, the success of the business is written on the wall. Quite literally, actually, as the Mississauga location is covered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with framed photos of customers old and new who pick up their delicately used trucks after buying. The smiles on their faces are as gleaming as the chrome on the rig.
This year it opened up its second location in Saskatoon, Sask., a strategic location for Upper Canada after it conducted market research of the area.
“For many years people would come from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, to our facility here in Mississauga, buy a truck and drive it home,” he said. “So, we decided to open up a facility in Saskatoon because it’s in the center of Edmonton-Calgary-Winnipeg, and because no one else in the area is doing what we’re doing. So, we saw a clear opportunity to replicate the niche we have here, in the west.”
Things are also looking up for the business in Ontario, Boughen claims. On Oct. 1, it opened up a brand new all-in-one sales center in Innisfil, Ont. The new sales centre sits on 4.5 acres and is 30,000 sq.-ft. The new concept has been in the works for years, according to Boughen.
“The business model we had to date, has been that we outsource all of the work to frontline the trucks to a variety of service providers at the Dixie-401 corridor,” Boughen said.
“Now, with the new facility, we’re going to internalize the frontline process – which is paint and body, mechanical repairs, polishing – all ourselves. It’s a huge transformation. Instead of truck sellers, we’re going to be so much more.”
Essentially Upper Canada Truck Sales says it is creating a completely alternative truck buying experience unlike anything the industry has seen. Now, those interested in driving something new, can go to Upper Canada, work with Boughen and his staff to personally spec’ a used truck to his or her liking, or, they can bring in their existing truck and let the Upper Canada team transform their rig for them, with things like a new enhanced exhaust or a new stereo system and paint job.
What Boughen is the most excited about is the control that the new location lends itself. Now, Boughen said, the entire customer experience will change.
“Out front there’s going to be a bonfire with Muskoka chairs for our customers to come and hang out,” he said of the new location. “If you go anywhere else, you see customers sitting inside with someone at a register not helping them. This will be totally different. We are also getting mechanics to create a smoker barbecue so on Thursdays and Fridays in the summer and fall, we can serve up pulled pork sandwiches to customers and anyone passing through.”
The new all-in-one Upper Canada Truck Sales center is located at 2337 Bowman St. in Innisfil, Ont.