BOS Motorsports: Rising from the ashes

What would you do if you saw your dreams go up in flames?

by Trish Drinkle

The interior/showroom of BOS Motorsports.
Truly rising from the ashes, BOS Motorsports is bigger and better than ever before. Ray Senio photo

After six months of negotiations, Kevin Johnston of Sherwood Park, Alberta, finally saw his dreams turn into reality. On October 15, 2016, after the purchase of ASE Motorsports, BOS Motorsports became one of the industry’s newest powersports stores in Alberta.

BOS—which stands for Bikes, Offroad, Snow—was Johnston’s vision of turning some of his life’s passions into a business.

“I’ve always been an avid outdoorsman, enjoying bikes, snowmobiles and marine recreation,” he said. “It seemed to make sense to me to take this huge step forward in life.”

Only two months after opening the doors of BOS Motorsports, Johnston watched his business and his dreams go up in flames.

It was December 17th and Johnston was on his way home from a staff Christmas party, only to be called back to the store’s location. A fire that started in the northwest portion of the building had consumed the new business and burned it to the ground. The cause of the fire was undetermined but not suspicious, according to fire investigators, with a whopping $7 million estimated in damage.

A pile of burnt rubble that was BOS Motorsports.
What would you do if your dreams went up in flames? Here are the remnants of BOS Motorsports after the fire. Ray Senio photo

Everything was lost, including the company database, all new units and customer service jobs, leaving Johnston in a state of disbelief. That disbelief was short lived, however, for Johnston never gave up.

“While I watched the flames consume my business, never did I think it was over,” he said. “That my dream was over. I immediately began thinking, bigger and better.”

It appeared that a miracle was needed to get BOS back on its feet, which is exactly what happened—a Christmas miracle if you will.

Rebuilding his dream

Soon after the fire, while the dust was still settling, Johnston held a team meeting with his staff to reassure them the fire wasn’t the end of BOS. They moved forward, working together to keep BOS Motorsports running as usual.

Cell phones were used to facilitate day-to-day operations, and parts orders were fulfilled with Johnston personally providing the funds and sourcing out parts from other businesses while they worked through the insurance process. On Christmas Eve, an ever-determined Johnston was taking parts orders, reassuring customers that BOS was still going strong. It took a lot of brainstorming to recall business details that were lost in the fire. Having the database destroyed was a huge hit for BOS.

The owners of BOS Motorsports.
Kevin Johnston and wife, Kayla, believe in following your dreams, no matter the obstacles before you. Ray Senio photo

“We had to brainstorm and try to recall business operations,” Johnson said. “We relied upon photographs to provide many details of our business contents for insurance.”

For Johnston, one of his main priorities was to take care of his valued staff.

“It was Christmas and my employees had seen their workplace burn to the ground,” he said. “It was important for me to take care of them, so each employee continued to receive their paycheque during our transition time.”

Many people reached out to help, including customers.

“I was afraid of losing customers because of the fire but even customers who’d lost machines offered assistance to help BOS rise from the ashes,” said Johnson.

Customers offered temporary housing for BOS and continued to support the new dealership they had faith in.

Bigger, better—truly rising from the ashes

Now nearing a year since its initial opening, BOS Motorsports is rolling along stronger than ever. BOS has expanded its product lines to include Arctic Cat/Textron, EZ Go Golf carts, Husqvarna Lawn and Garden, Yamaha Marine, Mirror Craft Marine and Cushman golf/utility turf machines.

BOS Motorsports isn’t the only aspect of life that is growing for Johnston. He and his wife are expecting a new addition to their family in December with the birth of their first child.

You’ll see BOS Motorsports at the Alberta Snowmobile and Powersports Show in October 2017. If you miss them at the Edmonton show, you’ll find them at 185 Turbo Drive in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

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