St. Albert is home to many franchise stores, ranging from fast food to retail to service companies. Did you know that St. Albert is also the head office to some national franchise operations? One such company started in St. Albert in 1994 and now has more than 150 franchises across Canada, as well as in New Zealand and Australia.
Ivan Mayer started Crackmaster Distributors Ltd., in a small shop in St. Albert as a means to create self-employment after accepting a severance package from his employer. Rather than just sit around he decided to open a business repairing and replacing windshields. This has since turned into a family business and an ambitious growth plan to expand the company so that others can open their own businesses built on a proven formula developed by Ivan over the past 17-plus years.
Not only has the business grown through the addition of new franchise operators, but it also has grown through diversification. In addition to the windshield repair and replacement business, Crackmaster has expanded into a number of new franchise opportunities:
• Chipmaster: an auto paint repair system.
• Scorpion: a truck bed protection company also offering a full line of truck accessories.
• Pro-Concept Coatings: a garage floor and deck coating franchise.
• Detailmasters: offering small business owners a chance to start or expand an auto detailing/cosmetic enhancement business.
Never one to stand still, Crackmaster continues to seek out high-quality products and services to support their dealer network. The company now carries a wide variety of automotive products such as windshield wipers (who wouldn’t want to replace the old windshield wipers when a new windshield has been installed), Meguiar’s cleaning and polishing products, auto accessories, and even equipment such as compressors or special tools for repairing/replacing windshields. All additional products are designed to help the franchise owner maximize their success.
The company was started after extensive research. Ivan was able to access the best windshield repair system available in the world, and is now the only licensed user in Canada for the UltraBOND patented equipment, repair resins and windshield repair technique.
Then they formed an alliance with the country’s foremost windshield manufacturer. At times it has required bold moves, and in one instance, Crackmaster was so pleased with a product, they bought the company that produces a headlight protection film called Armourshield.
Crackmaster has developed an impressive franchise opportunity. They offer low cost franchise fees, extensive training and access to a wide array of exclusive products in the automotive and coatings industries. What makes the franchise system so successful for Crackmaster is the commitment to dealer support. Each franchisee is provided extensive training, usually at the head office in St. Albert. The small business owners receive advice on marketing and advertising and how each owner can be competitive in their own marketplace, access to all the equipment required to start the business, and overall business strategies to optimize profitability as quickly as possible!
Crackmaster also offers strong buying power, access to 23 warehouse suppliers of auto glass right across Canada and a strong reputation. The company has won the Consumer Choice Award nine years in a row in Edmonton, a record for auto glass companies in the region.
Ivan has been fortunate to have family and great employees working in the business. This has allowed him to serve in a number of volunteer roles in St Albert. Today, he serves as a director on the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, vice-chair on the St. Albert Economic Development Advisory Committee (SAEDAC) and president of the Riel Business Park Association.
As a company with a vested interest in St. Albert, it gives back to the community in many ways, such as having a development company that helps build new space for other small and medium business. This has attracted a number of new businesses to relocate from Edmonton, in turn helping our own economy, by putting people to work within the community, who then support the grocery stores, the restaurants, etc. Whenever possible, Crackmaster supports local businesses, enabling them to give something back to the community. This is just another example of why local small business is so important to St. Albert’s sustainability.
For the full story on this successful St Albert business, check out their website at www.crackmasterscanada.com
Twice a month Larry Horncastle profiles the “hidden gems” of the city’s business community or addresses the hot issue of the day. If you know of a unique business, contact the Gazette at firstname.lastname@example.org