The End of an era heralds the beginning of a new chapter
This is a bittersweet announcement from Kristine Fair, President of Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd in Smiths Falls.
After 40 years in the automotive industry and after many soul searching and discussion with my husband John, I reached the decision that it was now time for me to pass the torch onto a worthy recipient to continue the legacy of my father, Mike Fair and the business he opened in 1987 - Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd.
In 2005, after 25 years in the industry, I moved to Smiths Falls with my children, Caitlin and Mitchell, to work with my Father. I entered into a partnership with him in 2008 and worked alongside him until his passing in February of 2015. My plan had been to keep this business in the family for as long as possible. However, with that said, the only constant we can count on is change, and this year of 2020 certainly brought change to us all, including my plans for the dealership.
Mike Fair’s has been very successful in its almost 34-year history as a business in Smiths Falls. This success was due in a large part to the team of people who work there now and in the past, in addition to the thousands of customers living in the Ottawa Valley and beyond – for this I am grateful.
In spite of this tremendous success, I humbly recognized that I had taken this dealership as far as I could on my own. For many that would be good enough, however, I knew that for Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac to realize greater growth, adapt to the changing retail environment, to remain competitive and highly successful, and to meet the demands of the manufacturer’s requirements,it would take an individual with access to larger resources and networks that I, as an individual owner, could not offer.
I am grateful to have found a worthy candidate to meet all of these above-mentioned challenges, in Charlene Brunet of The Butler Group. Much like me, Charlene has been in the automotive industry most of her life and shares many similar attributes. Charlene is committed to maintaining the community support that Mike Fair’s has done for the past 34 years and will ensure that it is business as usual in Smiths Falls but just turned up a notch or two. She will continue the community investment that Mike Fair started in 1987 and as such, I will remain on the team as the Community Ambassador to provide our continued support to the many local charities and services, as well as participate in the community events on behalf of the dealership.
Although the owner may be different, the employees of Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd, still remain the same, as does the great service they provide and will continue to provide – in short it will still be business as usual and remain Famous for Fairness!
About Us at Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac
Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd was established in 1987 by Mike Fair, who began his automotive career at General Motors in Oshawa in the 60’s. His daughter, Kristine Fair, joined him in 2005 after working for various dealers in southwestern Ontario for 25 years. Kristine is now the current owner and dealer principle; Mike sadly passed away in 2015.
At Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, our team is dedicated to providing a sales and service experience like no other and can only be described as ‘famous for fairness’. Regardless of whether you are purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle, our sales team will treat you just the same; with the respect, transparency, and a simplified process to ensure your overall satisfaction. You will receive this same treatment in our service and parts departments, and collision repair.
Mike Fair is committed to building strong, long-lasting relationships with all of our customers, regardless of where they live. Many of our customers who no longer live in Eastern Ontario and still buy their cars, trucks or SUVs from us simply because they know what to expect from the team at Mike Fair’s and appreciate the professionalism, courtesy and amazing service they receive. Mike Fair’s combines an impressive selection of new and pre-owned vehicles with a tradition of pressure-free sales and service that has spanned over three decades.
Our business culture is to treat customers as if they were in our own home, to make them feel welcomed.
Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac has always been ‘famous for fairness’ and philanthropy. While we are in the business to sell, service, and repair vehicles, we also make it our business to serve the needs of our communities that have supported the company, its employees, and their families since 1987. A strong focus is placed on giving to charities which support our youth, as well as our local hospitals; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Salvation Army; school programs and fundraising; recreational sports teams, and our Chamber of Commerce are a few of those we support.
Mike Fair, A True Auto Industry Leader
Michael J. Fair
In February 2015, the retail auto industry lost a true leader, visionary and friend with the passing of Mike Fair, who was President and CEO of Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd. in Smiths Falls, Ont. Mike served on the Board of Directors of the former Ontario Automobile Dealer Association (OADA). Mike provided guidance and leadership when the OADA and the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association merged to form the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) in 2011.
Born and raised in Oshawa, Mike began his automotive career as a teenager, working for General Motors in Oshawa. One anecdote from that period is that he occasionally met R.S. McLaughlin (who started one of the first automobile manufacturing facilities in Canada) in the elevators at GM and they would chat. While working at GM, Mike held several management positions, until he left in 1980 to experience the retail side of the industry when he joined Ontario Motor Sales. While there, Mike operated and expanded its commercial truck centre, selling and servicing both S-10s and Silverado’s, up to 18-wheeler big rigs.
In 1987, Mike purchased a struggling GM franchise in Smiths Falls. Over the next 28 years, Mike developed a reputation as a forward-thinking dealer who served the automobile industry and his community with distinction.
In the 1990s, Mike helped to form the GM Goodwrench Service program, which promoted vehicle repairs that included factory-trained technicians, GM-approved parts and competitive pricing.
Along the way, Mike was a member of the GM Retail Marketing Board, past president of the OADA, past president of the Smiths Falls and District Chamber of Commerce, and past board member of the Smiths Falls Community Hospital Foundation and Rideau Heritage Museum. He also generously gave his time and financial support to other community projects and organizations, including school playgrounds, Salvation Army, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the new community arena, Perth and Smiths Falls Hospitals.
One of Mike’s proudest accomplishments was his annual golf tournament for Juvenile Diabetes, which featured Bobby Orr as well as NHL players from Eastern Ontario; it ran for 17 years and raised just under $400,000 (Mike lost his youngest daughter, Merridee, to diabetes in 2009). His contributions were recognized by JDRF in their 2009 annual report. In 1997, Mike earned the prestigious Maclean’s Ontario Dealer of Excellence Award for business acumen, association involvement and community contribution, and in 1999, the Smiths Falls District Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year. His dealership was a three-time GM Triple Crown Award recipient for customer satisfaction, sales volume and service efficiency, and in 2012, Mike received the GM Milestone Achievement Award recognizing 25 years as a dealer. Mike was also was a committed family man who loved spending time at his house on Big Rideau lake with his wife, Wendy, his daughters Kristine and Wendy and stepdaughter, Andrea, his four grandchildren and his many friends. His passion was golf, and he was fortunate to play year round, enjoying their Florida home in the winters. In 2005, Mike’s eldest daughter, Kristine, moved her young family to Smiths Falls and began working with her father. She, too, began working in the industry as a teenager, like Mike, and had worked in several management positions at various dealerships prior to joining Mike. Kristine is a director with the Smiths Falls Chamber of Commerce, and recently joined the board of TADA. As dealer principal at Mike Fair Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd. today, Kristine and her team look forward to meeting the challenges that lay ahead and building and carrying on her father’s legacy in the retail car industry.