If you have ever needed transportation in Prince George, odds are you are well familiar with these two staple local businesses.
Chieftain Auto Parts and Koops Bike Shop are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year, and both have special celebrations coming up.
Both businesses opened in 1973 – Koops was started by newlyweds Gys and Lynn Koops, who are both still active in the store’s operation. Their daughter, Marianne Koops now owns the business, and her brother Jeff is the head mechanic and purchaser.
Chieftain was opened by Peter and Eileen Heinze, and is now run by their children, Trevor and Jayne.
“It doesn’t feel like it has been 50 years – it makes me feel old when you say it like that,” Trevor Heinze told My PG Now.
He said his “great and knowledgeable” staff can be thanked for the business’ longevity.
“We look after them, we have fun here and make it a nice place to come every day. In turn, our attitude towards them here is reflected on the customers and the great service that they give. It is one happy family,” he said. “We hire people who enjoy the automotive market and make it their hobby – they might as well get paid for it!”
Looking back over the years, Heinze said he remembers working at the same shop as a kid, his dad would pay him a $2 bill each Saturday.
“Jane and I get along very well, and we realize we have more than just her and I to worry about here so it makes it important for us to look after it,” he said.
Looking forward at the next 50 years, Heinze said the first thing he thinks the “next generation” might do it find a larger building, “but in the meantime we are going to keep forging ahead and having fun while we do it.”
The third generation of the family is already involved, Chieftain’s second location in the Hart is operated by Spencer, Jayne’s son, something they say is a “point of pride.”
To celebrate 50 years, Chieftain will be holding a special clearance sale and barbecue.
“We want to clean out the warehouse, make some room for some new and incoming product,” Heinze said.
The sale will take place from 8:30 until 4:30 on Saturday, May 27th. The barbecue will begin at 11, all the proceeds will go towards the 4-H club.
Koops’ celebration will be taking place two weeks from then on June 10th, where they will also have a barbecue, cake, coffee and prizes.
For more information on Chieftain Auto Parts, click here.
For more information on Koops Bike Shop, click here.