Growth and progress—the ARA celebrates the year in review.
On September 29-30, 2023, the Automotive Retailers Association (ARA) hosted its annual Members Retreat and Gala Fundraiser in Osoyoos, British Columbia. This sold-out event, held at Spirit Ridge Resort on the ancestral lands of the Osoyoos Indian Band, was a resounding success. Our primary goal was to host a memorable occasion where our valued members, friends, and colleagues could unite, unwind, and reflect on their contributions to our industry. With your generous support, we succeeded in achieving this objective.
This year’s annual golf tournament was hosted at the Sonora Dunes Golf Course, conveniently nestled within the beautiful Spirit Ridge Resort. We experienced an impressive turnout for the golf event, prompting the scheduling of two separate tee times to accommodate everyone who was interest. The first tee-off began at 8:00 a.m., and the second at 1:00 p.m. At noon, both groups gathered for a delicious BBQ lunch, complete with smokies, burgers, hot dogs, and a variety of refreshing beverages.
Following a successful day on the golf course, attendees convened in the courtyard of the resort for the Chairman’s Reception. Unfortunately, our chairman, Ron Tremblay, was unable to attend this year, and thus, his responsibilities fell to ARA Board Member Scott Waddle and ARA President and CEO Adrian Scovell. After brief introductions, Chief Clarence Louie took the stage. Chief Louie, who serves as the Chief and CEO of the Osoyoos Indian Band, extended a warm welcome to the attendees, emphasizing the significance of the Osoyoos people’s ancestral lands, especially since our retreat had fallen on the same weekend as National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Chief Louie’s words were followed by a smudging ceremony, led by a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, to assist attendees in purifying their minds and spirits in preparation for the evening and the weekend ahead.
Annual General Meeting
The next morning, the day commenced with the Annual General Meeting (AGM), attended by members both in person at Spirit Ridge and virtually through Zoom. Following the AGM proceedings, CEO Adrian Scovell took the stage to provide members with a comprehensive overview of the ARA’s activities over the past year. He covered a range of topics, including ongoing government collaboration and initiatives, the ARA’s leadership in the B.C. electric vehicle sector, the growth and development of EVfriendly program, social media and publication metrics, and more.
Following Scovell’s presentation, members had the privilege of engaging with the Hon. Minister Andrew Mercier. Mercier addressed key industry challenges and discussed his ongoing work with the ARA to address and resolve these issues. He spent the remainder of the afternoon mingling with members, answering questions, and directly engaging with those in attendance. Before the start of the luncheon hour, we were once again graced by Chief Clarence Louie, who once again spoke and shared his insights with members.
Following a few hours of relaxation and regrouping, attendees convened in the Nk’Mip Conference Centre for the gala and fundraising event. After brief remarks and introductions from our CEO, we were honored by the presence of the Hon. Minister Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier of British Columbia. Although he could not attend last year, Minister Farnworth did share an inspiring video message with members and the industry. This year, we were fortunate to have him in person, and he once again addressed our members, touching on the needs of members and collaborative efforts between the ARA and himself in the interests of industry.
Following Minister Farnworth’s speech, Scott Waddle presented our annual awards, including the ARA Member Anniversary Awards and the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which were bestowed upon two very deserving recipients, Steve Campbell and Walter Morse. Additionally, Waddle recognized the Automotive Retailers Foundation Inc. (ARFI) scholarship and bursary recipients. Notably, last year, the foundation raised a record-breaking amount, allowing for more recipients than in previous years. After the awards presentation, members took a break to enjoy dinner.
Live Auction + Silent Auction Fundraiser
Shortly following dinner, the eagerly awaited pedal car auction began, led once again by ADESA’s Marc Bergevin. It proved to be an enormous success yet again, with every available pedal car finding a new owner. Notably, there was the grand unveiling of a pedal car crafted by a professional all-women’s team. The pedal car, designed in the likeness of a classic fire truck, featured functional lights, multiple horns, and more. This remarkable pedal car set a new record as the most expensive ever auctioned by the ARA. In addition to the live auction, this year we introduced a silent auction, with many of our generous members and sponsors contributing items. The proceeds from both auctions allowed us to surpass last year’s total, raising an unprecedented $43,645 for the foundation.
We are grateful to our members for their vital role in the success of the 2023 Members Retreat and Gala Fundraiser. This event highlighted the significance of uniting industry professionals to nurture relationships, share ideas, and collectively drive our industry forward. Your dedication is invaluable in our journey toward progress and growth.