I recently caught up with Peter Naylor as he prepares to step down from the official leadership role of the Tippet Richardson Group of companies to enjoy retirement.
Reflecting on almost 60 years in the business, Peter recalls a time when a pool hall served as a makeshift Human Resources department for Tippet Richardson. The Tippet Richardson warehouse at 53 Ontario St in Toronto housed a billiards table and enabled dispatchers to find immediate daily labour to work the trucks when a job was called in. It was during the time of the Great Depression. This was an innovative way to provide the company with labour and to keep the business running. The “local pool hall” story was told to Peter by his father, Russell and Uncle Walter Naylor.
As Peter contemplated the pedigree of the household moving industry in Canada, he shared detail on changes taking place in soliciting manpower, the availability and characteristics of the new employee and how the firm evolved from the “local pool hall”.
“The resources of man power came from different parts of our economy under different circumstances…in Canada particularly from the conclusion of the Second World War through to the early 60’s the immigration from Northern Europe supplied us with a tremendous amount manpower for the moving industry. We used to meet the (boat) trains as they arrived at Union Station from Halifax, to introduce ourselves and offer jobs. This source of labour for our country and company was vitally important and produced many very successful people. They became excellent company people and citizens that contributed to our country.” ~Peter Naylor
The soliciting and training of labour for household moving became more concentrated, demands for international moves were increasing along with more expectations from a mover. The availability of man power changed as did the characteristics of the employee.
Before 1982, the moving industry was a regulated industry and Tippet Richardson thrived as a regional mover. “The Friendly Mover” was known for their exceptional service. The truck with the logo of Mr. Tippet’s smiling face tipping his cap to his customer became iconic. Tippet Richardson’s base of operations was Ontario, expanding to Alberta in the mid 70’s, and adding California, British Columbia and the Maritimes in the 80’s.
Tippet Richardson continued to evolve in answer to the demand for varied services. What was once, a local household mover, grew to include office moving, business records management, special products handling, real estate and solar energy, from local to international. In each sector, Tippet Richardson and Peter Naylor maintained a strong commitment to excellent customer service and satisfaction.
Trans border crossings between Canada and USA were dealt with apprehension by many movers in North America. In his youth Peter himself spent many summers running loads for Tippet Richardson between the two countries and felt the nations were seamless. Under his guidance Tippet Richardson became the recognized border hauling agent for their van line. With the expertise and knowledge of border crossing and customs, Tippet Richardson.
Overseas moving, special lift vans, rail containers, sea shipping schedules, consolidated containers and single forty foot containers required more knowledge than local or long distance moves across Canada and the USA. Tippet Richardson had the proficiency and capability. Working with international firms with similar philosophies as Tippet Richardson and the Naylor family was essential.
By participating in the International Relocation community Peter and his late wife Dolores were able to enhance their lives with many like minded partners from culturally different backgrounds. Peter and Dolores traveled the world, meeting and talking with owners and individuals. Many of their first contacts stemmed from earlier visits by Russell and Norah Peter’s parents who first represented Tippet Richardson overseas. The Naylor representation continued with Bruce Naylor, his brother and Maureen his wife. The Naylor family remain a connected part of the international removals world. Peter’s children, Brenda and Kevin represent Tippet Richardson, the values, international image and hospitality.
“Individuals and owners such as myself, involved in the international moving industry, developed friendships, (this is) an interesting aspect of our lives and businesses. My parents, siblings and now my children have continued to develop and maintain those friendships throughout the world for over 60 years.”~Peter Naylor
Peter travelled to the various conventions and industry events over the years, sharing his knowledge and learning from his fellow removal firms. At one international convention held in Madrid in 1983 where Peter was a key speaker, his message regarding the development and optimum use of warehouse space was instrumental in changing the way firms organized their business and resources. Business Records Management, at the time, was not typically thought of as service offered by a household mover, but was in fact, a natural added value feature for business people who required secure storage space. The security required of warehouses for international and household storage provided ultimate protection for sensitive hard copy business files.
Through the efficient utilization of buildings Tippet Richardson created a real estate division where additional profit could be made in the building, acquiring and ultimately the selling of properties.
“It was through storage that we were able to become a real estate company. Storage in our part is household goods and business records. Many business records companies approach this from the management perspective and are not interested in owning real estate. They make their money through management and records management services. It is a different approach. In my case, today the wealth comes from real estate not from moving” ~Peter Naylor
Owning real estate did not diminish the operation of valued services. In fact, it allowed Tippet Richardson to expand services, control the grade of facilities, and utilize the company’s assets to the fullest extent.
Keeping up with changes in technology opened doors to new business and the firm continually looked ahead to opportunity. A division of Tippet Richardson’s known as Special Products catered to the fragility of moving high tech computers and related support systems. Large items that demanded special warehousing and large cushioned tractor trailers in the 70’s and 80’s can now be managed by small padded packets.
“During the 70’s and 80’s, with the high tech industry in North America we opened our own warehouse and office in the silicon valley, California. It was important during that time to have the proper equipment and facilities to service the new expertise. As computers and related products changed to being manufactured overseas and became much smaller, we adjusted. Our Special Products division was ready and capable of installing, wiring, configuring, refinishing and dismantling business workstations with computer desk terminals.” ~Peter Naylor
Today, the new features of Tippet Richardson warehouse in Toronto are rotating solar panels. Innovative green thinking is another feature of Tippet Richardson’s track record of service and adaptation.
“Using the phrase “going green” means many things to many people. How I tried to implement it in our company was with the development of solar panels on the roofs of our warehouses. We began in 2007 with the construction of a 40ft high warehouse with the design for a solar panel system on the roof. Since then, we have added a second warehouse with solar panels and a third is in the works. These are significant revenue contributors as well as a renewable energy source for our community.” ~ Peter Naylor
Just as Peter took to his father’s business, his children, now grown, have followed suit and taken interest in different divisions of the company. Brenda Naylor continues to own and operate Tippet Richardson based out of Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. Brenda is active in many international and domestic associations of the industry and manages the full service removals firm. Scott Naylor is assuming Peter’s role in overseeing Warehouse Properties Ltd. based in Toronto.
“To be a part of an ever growing, ever changing industry, where the most cherished objects of families, the most protected items of business are under my care has given me such satisfaction. In comparison, working with the international community prior to the internet and easily accessible travel and transportation may have been regarded as a challenge, but I am so grateful for the many wonderful international friends and movers that I met during that time and cherish to this day. My experience in this business has been very rewarding. Today I feel proud to say I have contributed to my community, developed international friendships, built warehouses with a focus on versatility, for future opportunities, gone green and are passing this on to my children.” ~ Peter Naylor
Peter has certainly made his mark with his 60 year presence in the industry. Things have come a long way since the warehouse “pool hall” at 53 Ontario Street.
~ Ron Waddling (Working associate of Tippet Richardson’s International Division since 1973)