It’s the kind of story everyone loves to hear. A young family man started a small business in Westfort back in ’64, and it has become a cornerstone of Thunder Bay businesses. Many can probably recall the Shell gas station at the corner of Edward and Gore Streets, and the adjoining service centre housed in the white stucco building with the words, “Gore Motors” hanging plainly on the side.
Honda motorcycles lined up out front waiting to be sold. Over the years, Ralph Wuorisalo, his wife, Lois, and sister, Miriam, developed and expanded that business. Their relationship with Honda solidified and Gore Motors soon became one of the first companies to introduce Honda cars to the Canadian market.
It’s the little business that grew, and the family that grew with it. Forty-six years later, Gore Motors Honda sits majestically at 361 Memorial Avenue, in Thunder Bay ON, proudly managed by Ralph’s son, Jeff, and daughter, Nancy.
You can feel the loyalty and passion when talking to Wanda, the Office Manager. As Jeff’s wife, she’s also taken on an important role in the family business. Their daughter helps out at reception – making it three generations working together.
Their dedication is attributed to the fact that Gore Motors has always been a part of their lives. Anyone who joins the Gore Motors team simply becomes part of the family.
Gore Motors takes pride in its history with the city, building lifelong relationships with their customers and friends. The dealership boasts of loyal customers who, to this day, come in and reminisce about the time they came to Gore Motors, in Westfort, to buy their first motorcycle at age 19. It’s that sense of community that customers embrace. Even the dealership’s cat, Cleo, can attest to that. In the past few years, Cleo has somewhat become their mascot – enjoying his own visitors, and tearing open occasional gifts from them.
Ralph is still as dedicated now as he was forty-six years ago. Being in his 70’s has not slowed him down. When you visit Gore Motors today, you’ll most likely find him under the hood of the car in the Honda service centre. He just can’t seem to retire. He’s tried, so many times. But this is where his family is.
As Wanda so aptly put, Gore Motors is their family… “This is our life. This is our community.”