Nickel City Motors has been family owned and operated for over 44 years in Thomspon, Manitoba. The company is run by brother and sister team Wendy and Steve Grandbois, who have a passion for ATVing and sledding. This year, all their hard work was rewarded when they received the Dealer of the Year Award from the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) at the 45th International Snowmobile Congress on June 8, 2013, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Nickel City Motors was started by Dennis Grandbois in 1967 and sold fuel in Thompson at one of its two gas stations. Steve said his dad started selling Ski-Doo snowmobiles in 1971 after trying other brands. The second generation took over in 1998 when Wendy, Darren, Brent and Steve Grandbois operated the company. In 2002 Wendy and Steve took the helm and moved the store from a 5,000-square-foot building to a 16,000-square-foot storefront alongside Highway 6 and a lot closer to the trails.
Nickel City Motors sells only quality products like BRP, Honda, Mercury, Princecraft , Argo and Husqvarna and has been selling recreation products to the farthest reaches of Nunavut's north to the southern Manitoba area for some 43 years.
SnoRiders caught up with Steve to talk to him about the award, his passion for Ski-Dooing and ATVing and what it's like to run a dealership.
How does it feel to win the Dealer of the Year Award from the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations?
It makes me happy and proud of our team here at Nickel City Motors that our hard work and dedication to something that is so much fun can be recognized from such a fine group of dedicated worldwide snowmobilers. We attended the event in Green Bay for the first time and look forward to returning, as it opened my eyes to how many dedicated sledders of all ages are out there.
How long have you lived in Thompson?
My sister Wendy and I have lived here for the most part since 1969. But we aren’t that old!
What do you love most about your job?
The customers and our top-notch staff we have make this business fun. And the recreation business, while it is a business, it is a fun one to be in because you sell fun. There aren't many businesses that you can say that.
What do you value most in your business?
The staff I think in any business is your top priority. Having the right staff is especially important because if you don’t have the right staff, you don’t have happy customers.
How do you provide support to your community or local club?
We store groomers at our shop as well as maintain and store Ski-Doo groomers for the club. We also open Sundays for them to operate the Poker Derby out of our store, as we sit right alongside the groomed trail. We also sponsor most of the events they put on, like drag races and fun runs.
How long have you been snowmobiling/ATVing?
Funny thing is, I got my scarf stuck in a clutch of a 1969 Skiroule RT 300 when I was about six years old. The scarf wrapped around the clutch and pulled me into the motor. That didn’t get my young sledding career off to a good start. But the next year I was back in the saddle, I just didn’t wear scarves anymore, and have been Skidooing and ATVing since then. I love going out any time I can and have been doing so for 43 years.
What kind of sled/ATV do you ride?
My current older ride is a 2009 1200 Ski Doo with a MX EXPRESS 250 turbo kit on it. It gives me my midlife fix when I need it. Then I just traded in my Ski-Doo 600 Expedition Ace in for the new 2014 900 Ace Ski-Doo and use that one for my longer trips and cruising sled.
Where do you usually ride?
I love riding up here in northern Manitoba, as we are always guaranteed snow and nine out of ten years it is real deep and lots of powder. The club has done a excellent job at expanding our trail system in the last few years and we now have over 680 kilometres of scenic trails that hook up to other communities, with fuel stops along the way. I am looking forward to helping the club fine tune that. As well, we are currently exploring the possibility of a groomed trail to Churchill, Manitoba. If we can get that going, it will be the trip of a lifetime. We feel many snowmobilers across North America and the world will want to come and ride that one if we can get it going.
What is your favourite kind of riding?
I like powder riding for the most part, as we have so much of it up here, but really enjoy riding the groomed trails now that we have so many kilometres to explore.
What has been one of your most memorable rides?
My most memorable ride was to Snow Lake a few years back. But I am really looking forward to the Churchill ride, as there are a few club and non club members that do that trip almost every year, even though we haven’t groomed it yet.
What does sledding/ATVing mean to you?
It means that at the end of the day I know I will have a life that has been fulfilled with the most precious views and fun that we all deserve when we live in such a beautiful place like Manitoba and Canada.