Written By John Dick
MILTON, ON. — In 1962, John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister of Canada, John F. Kennedy was the President of United States and John Robarts was the Premier of Ontario.
In May of that year, Rick Wilcox and his brother Dave founded Wilcox Bodies Limited and Wilcox Equipment Rentals in Streetsville, ON. A few months later, they opened a small shop.
Last week, on October 3rd, the Wilcox family celebrated their 50th anniversary.
At first, Wilcox Bodies built stake bodies, platform bodies, regular vans and utility bodies for local trade as well as municipalities and hydro commissions throughout Ontario.
The company grew quickly and in 1965 Dave Wilcox moved his rental truck business to a separate location in Streetsville.
The Wilcox Bodies location in Streetsville was expanded twice to a size of 8,000 sq.ft by 1976.
On March 14th, 1980, John C. Dick purchased Wilcox Bodies Limited with a partner and became sole owner in 1982.
Rick Wilcox assisted Dick for six months during the morning to help with the business. Wilcox had the Arctic snowplows distributorship and repairs to concrete mixers to help grow the business and concentrated on developing the utility and mechanics bodies business.
Sadly, Rick Wilcox was diagnosed with cancer in September, 1980, and passed away in November 1981.
To this day, however, the Wilcox name logo remains the same as the way Rick wrote it. Later, the company added the current Canadian logo after a contest among the employees to change the existing logo that featured a van body.
The company was growing very fast and purchased adjoining properties and a farm house in 1985 and 1986 for future growth.
In 1987, Wilcox added 8,000 sq.ft to the existing building to make a total size of 16,000 sq.ft, plus an adjacent auto body shop that had been previously purchased, which was converted to a manufacturing and installation facility for smaller vehicles.
In 1988, Wilcox renovated the historic farm house and moved the sales and administration there and named it The Wilcox House.
There was a huge demand for fiberglass bodies, so moulds were manufactured and Wilcox outsourced the manufacturing for some time and installed the bodies in Streetsville.
Eventually the company moved the fiberglass manufacturing to the smaller building adjacent to the plant.
Over time, the demand for fiberglass waned and the demand for aluminum grew, so Wilcox converted the small shop into a retail store named Wilcox Equipment and sold all forms of truck accessories, plus snow removal equipment. David Dick, a recent university graduate, was put in charge of the store and the motto was: “Making you look good is what we do best.” The store closed in 2001.
Five years ago, Wilcox bought a 32,000 sq.ft. building in Milton on five acres, renovated it and moved the operation there in February 2008 and sold the properties in Streetsville. This new facility is state of the art with new manufacturing equipment and a large heated paint booth.
A small company that grew to a large, modern truck body manufacturing company is due to an effort to always provide quality at a fair price and treat customers the way anyone would like to be treated.
None of the company’s success could have been achieved without wonderful customers, they noted. It’s an amazing success story and it continues as a family business with son David, son-in-law Grant and daughter-in-law Jennifer, actively involved in the day to day operations.
Have your say
We won't publish or share your data