NEW ORLEANS — OK Tire Stores Inc. has bestowed National Store of Year honors for 2019 on its franchise in Winkler, Manitoba, and singled out seven other franchises for regional honors.
OK Tire Winkeler is owned by Walter and Alvera Funk, who opened the store in 1991, known until 2015 as Canadian Automotive Repair Services until they converted it to the OK Tire brand five years ago. It's now managed by their two children and their spouses --- son Dwayne and wife Brianna Funk, and daughter Candace and her husband Daniel Guenter.
The awards were given at OK Tire Stores' annual conference that took place in February in New Orleans.
Winkeler is a town of about 12,500 residents in rural Manitoba about 90 miles southwest of Winnipeg. It's one of only a handful of tire dealers/auto service providers in the area.
"The leadership and commitment to their customers that Walter, Alvera and the entire OK Tire Winkler team demonstrate daily is truly outstanding," OK Tire Chief Operating Officer Michael Rutherford said.
"The heart of OK Tire is our owners and employees, living in the communities they serve, and the team at OK Tire Winkler are perfect representatives of this," he said. "We are proud to have them as part of the OK Tire family and look forward to their continued success."
"We're thrilled to be receiving this award and it means so much to our entire team," Walter Funk said. "We have been serving the community of Winkler and the surrounding area for over 30 years and to be recognized is an honor. We are proud to run our store as a family business, with our four children working alongside us while being able to represent the high service standards OK Tire is known for across the country.
"We want to thank our fantastic staff and faithful customers who have trusted us throughout the years."
The Regional Store of the Year winners are:
- Pacific Region: OK Tire Vernon, British Columbia, owned/operated by the Gosselin family — parents Luke and Cindy Gosselin and their children Chelsey and Ryan.
- Alberta Region: OK Tire Innisfail, Alberta, owned by Tom and Elaine Reid;
- Prairie Region: OK Tire Watson, Saskatchewan, owned by Garth and Lisa Davis;
- Central Region: OK Tire St. George, Ontario, owned by Carla Lindsay;
- East Region: OK Tire Ste-Agathe in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, owned by Etienne Lauzon; and
- Atlantic Region: OK Tire Saint John, New Brunswick, owned by Paul Pollari.
In addition, OK Tire Ajax of Ajax, Ontario — owned by Charlene and Mike Davis — was named Commercial Store of the Year.
OK Tire also gave awards for the first time in company history to business partners that demonstrated "outstanding commitment and support" across three categories:
• Tires: Continental Tire Canada
• Accessories: Wheel-1
• Dealer Support: NAPA Auto Parts
OK Tire also recognized anniversary milestones for many of their employees and stores, including an employee lifetime achievement award Cynda Pang, director of finance for the Vancouver-based franchisor.