New Gen­eral Mo­tors deal­er­ship holds grand open­ing

Northern Pen - - PUZZLES -

With a pledge that its busi­ness deal­ings will be staked on ser­vice, a rib­bon was cut on Fri­day night to pro­claim Wood­ward Mo­tors at St. An­thony of­fi­cially open.

A crowd of some 150 peo­ple joined with com­pany of­fi­cials, em­ploy­ees and spe­cial guests in cel­e­brat­ing the new­est fix­ture in the St. An­thony busi­ness com­mu­nity.

The fives­tar Gen­eral Mo­tors deal­er­ship, which will sell Pon­tiac, Buick, GMC, Chevro­let and Oldsmo­bile ve­hi­cles, is owned by Mel Wood­ward, a Boat Har­bour na­tive who’s a self­made mil­lion­aire.

He has ex­ten­sive deal­ings in the area of oil dis­tri­bu­tion, air­craft servicing, and ship­ping, in ad­di­tion to sell­ing cars and trucks. The St. An­thony deal­er­ship joins sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions at Goose Bay, Labrador City and Bay Roberts.

In kick­ing off the open­ing night cel­e­bra­tions, the vice-pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions for the Wood­ward Group of Com­pa­nies, Peter Wood­ward, Mel’s son, said he was proud of the fa­cil­ity, and proud of his fa­ther.

He dis­missed the skep­tics who have said it’s fool­hardy to open a new busi­ness dur­ing re­ces­sion­ary times, and pre­dicted that the deal­er­ship will do very well be­cause of the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to ser­vice and a prom­ise to be com­pet­i­tive.

“We’re in for the long haul,” he stated. “We’ve got the prod­uct, we’ve got the price … all you have to do is come and shop.” In wel­com­ing the Wood­wards to St. An­thony, Mayor Bern Brom­ley said the com­pany’s faith in the town has re­in­forced the town’s claim as the re­gional cen­tre of North­ern New­found­land. Not­ing that the Wood­wards could be classed as “do­ers,” Mayor Brom­ley com­pli­mented the own­ers of the es­tab­lish­ment for con­struct­ing a “marvelous” build­ing, and of­fered best wishes for their suc­cess.

The Wood­ward Group’s vi­cepres­i­dent of fi­nance, Tony Noonan, talked about how he

was “hired away” from Memo­rial Univer­sity some four years ago at the urg­ing of Mel Wood­ward. He de­scribed him as a mod­est en­tre­pre­neur who doesn’t go around talk­ing about his ac­com­plish­ments. “He doesn’t brag or blow his own horn, but what he does brag about is where he comes from, and that’s Boat Har­bour, a tiny place on the Great North­ern Penin­sula,” he said. “He likes to say the fur­ther north you go, the stronger and tougher the peo­ple are.”

In his ad­dress to the gath­er­ing, Mel Wood­ward said the ser­vice peo­ple will re­ceive at Wood­ward Mo­tors will be com­pa­ra­ble to any­thing that’s avail­able at other Gen­eral Mo­tors deal­er­ships in the Mar­itimes. While sur­rounded by his newly-hired staff mem­bers, he of­fered a com­mit­ment that cus­tomers will be treated in a way that will bring them back. With 14 in­di­vid­u­als on the pay­roll, he said he ex­pects his staff to be hard­work­ing, and to pro­duce re­sults.

One of the con­vic­tions he’s held for a long time is that “great things are go­ing to hap­pen to the Great North­ern Penin­sula,” largely in the trans­porta­tion sec­tor. The fed­eral govern­ment’s com­mit­ment last week to al­lot funds to de­velop the Trans-Labrador High­way is an­other step closer to­wards mov­ing ve­hi­cles be­tween Labrador and the Is­land.

“There are 40,000 peo­ple in Labrador who could be trav­el­ing this route (through the penin­sula).”

Mr. Wood­ward also said he ap­pre­ci­ated the sup­port he’s re­ceived from lo­cal busi­nesses, the Town of St. An­thony, Gen­eral Mo­tors, and sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als in “put­ting this fa­cil­ity to­gether.”

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