About Smith Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd
Welcome to Smith GM, in Kamloops, BC.
The Syd Smith Ltd. (now Smith Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd.) story begins in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the summer of 1915, at which time Syd Smith formed the first Automotive Dealership to bear his name. By 1930, the operation had moved to Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, and at that time, a franchise contract was entered into with Col. Sam McLaughlin of Oshawa, Ontario, to sell and service the famous car that bore his name, along with the other well known makes that eventually became known as General Motors of Canada. This franchise was to give Syd Smith Ltd. the distinction of being the oldest General Motors Dealership in Canada operating under the same name.
In 1937, Syd Smith successfully negotiated the purchase of the General Motors franchise in Kamloops from the Wolf family, who operated Kamloops Motors Ltd. at that time. His first place of business was located near the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Victoria Street and with the subsequent purchase of the A.C. Ward property on the corner itself, included most of the area where the Bank of B.C. building now stands. Syd Smith brought his family to Kamloops on September 11, 1937 and with their help, commenced operations in his new Dealership immediately.
Ten years later, son Max Smith purchased the Imperial Motordome Service Station from Jack Strainton of Kamloops, located on the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and Victoria Street. It had been part of the Union Bus Terminal operated by the Wilkinson family who had, by that time, moved their operations to the Lansdowne Street location. Shortly thereafter, Syd Smith Ltd. acquired the balance of the Bus Terminal complex, and moved their agency to this new location, where they continued to conduct their business.
In 1953, linked with the progress of Kamloops, a substantial building program was undertaken by the company, which produced a new Automotive Centre on the site of the old building. It included a large service facility along with a parts department, showroom, sales and administrative offices. The second floor of the main building provided rental office space which was being used by local organizations.
In 1964, because of the acute need for additional working area in the Service Department, a two storey Service Centre was constructed. It provided almost twice the original floor space, and included a large parking area on the roof.
In 1949, Syd Smith was elected to the Provincial Legislative as MLA for the Kamloops constituency. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada in Ottawa in 1957, and was elected Speaker of the Body in 1965, serving, with distinction, in that position until his resignation in 1968. He subsequently retired to Victoria and passed away in that City in 1976 at the age of 84 years.
During Senator Smith's political career, the operation of the company became the responsibility of his two sons, Gordon and Max. Gordon eventually becoming President and sole owner, which position he retained until his retirement in 1970. At that time, the business was sold to Albert Muzzillo and Roger Schreiner, both long time employees of the company.
In 1981 – 1982 significant changes occurred both in the Dealership's name and location. The company name Syd Smith Ltd was changed to Smith Chevrolet Oldsmobile Ltd retaining its heritage but also to better identify with its product. More significant was that after 44 years in the downtown, the dealership relocated to a brand new 44000 sq ft building on a 7 acre site in Southgate Industrial Park in the Southwest corner of Kamloops. This modern facility has:
- A 32 bay service centre for passenger, light trucks as well as commercial vehicles
- A modern parts warehouse which carries one of the largest General Motors inventories in the B.C. interior
- A full approved ICBC 22 bay body and paint facility,
- A 15 vehicle showroom
- A customer lounge coffee shop
And and most important, acres of space to park all of their new, used and customer vehicles in one location.
Roger and Al showed great vision in being one of the first retailers to locate in this area because today the Dealership location on Notre Dame and Hillside Dr is the city hub of retail shopping with, Wal-Mart Plaza and Aberdeen Mall located right next door offering customers great shopping choices while getting their vehicle serviced.
In 1990, the ownership of the dealership changed, when Roger Schreiner and Al Muzzillo retired as General Motors Dealers and sold their business to their son's Michael Schreiner and Anthony Muzzillo after approval from General Motors. Both Michael and Anthony have many years of experience and training in the dealership operations and carry on the dealership tradition of active participants in the daily operation and ardent supporters of the Kamloops and area communities.
In November, 1995 Gordon Smith passed away in Kamloops at the age of 79 and is survived by his wife Kay who still resides in Kamloops.
In November, 1999 Al Muzzillo passed away at age 75 in Kamloops and is survived by his wife Claire and their four children, spouses and grandchildren.
In 2003 Anthony and Mike recognizing that they wanted to provide a higher quality customer service experience, decided to perform a complete renovation on the dealership in accordance with the new GM Dealership Image program. Every area of the dealership was renovated. Starting with Phase I in March creating the first service drive thru in Kamloops along with a quick lube station. Then Phase II began in July, 2003 which included all of the dealership offices and reception and new lounge areas, completed in September 2003. Then finally the expansion and renovation of the showroom which was completed in Nov, 2004 and included the all new Cadillac display, new reception in the showroom and brand new sales offices.This complete renovation made Smith Chevrolet the most modern and customer friendly dealership in Kamloops if not the interior and will serve its customers for many years to come!
"Customers for Life" is our objective here at Smith Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd. Our dedicated team of 58 employees believe in giving our customers the best of service at all times.