Peterbilt Fort Frances on McIrvine Road is inviting the whole community out for its grand-opening celebrations tomorrow from 3-7 p.m.
In addition to a ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m., there will be draws, refreshments, representatives from major trucking suppliers and manufacturers, plus face-painting and other activities for kids.
“It’s a sense of excitement, for sure,” noted Dave Mack, operations manager for the local shop as well as Peterbilt’s Thunder Bay store.
“There’s been a lot of time and effort put into the design of the building, getting the employees in place,” he said. “Everything is up and running.”
Peterbilt Fort Frances opened its doors for business July 10. It currently employs seven people but Mack sees that number rising as word spreads.
“We’re above our [expected] start-up staff but we’re not quite to our maximum yet,” he remarked. “Within the next year, I can see us getting into 10, and down the road, we could be as high as 15.”
Once the business establishes itself here, Mack hopes to see it attract customers from northern Minnesota and North Dakota.
“We’re also expecting to cover Kenora, Dryden, and Atikokan, kind of that triangle with Fort Frances,” he said. “For Dryden and Kenora, it’s definitely much easier for them to go to the Fort Frances store than come to the Thunder Bay store.”
Thunder Bay Truck Centre, which covers an area from Wawa west to the Manitoba border, has been looking to open a second location for about eight years, Mack said.
The decision to locate it in Fort Frances was made about two years ago. After unsuccessfully looking for a building to rent, Mack said the decision to build was made when the property on McIrvine Road became available.
Mack said clearing the land proved to be more difficult than expected though the footings and foundation for the building were finally poured in November.
And now that construction is completed, Mack said everyone is looking forward to doing business here.
“We really felt, all of us in management, that the Fort Frances area has really embraced us,” he remarked. “Everybody we’ve talked to is excited about us coming there. Customers are very supportive and very enthusiastic about the facility.
“It’s nice to see everything come to fruition.”