Business Spotlight – Mohawk Vehicle Protection – Ogwari Brant
by Jim Barber
Mohawk Vehicle Protection Filling an Important Need in Region
As a vehicle enthusiast, Ogwari Brant knew that there were some glaring needs for his fellow car and truck aficionados in the area between Kingston and Belleville. One was for a place to get state-of-the-art spray-in bed liners and protective coatings. Another was a place to get a range of tires with the accompanying personalized service that many desire.
Always looking for an entrepreneurial endeavour to devote his time, talent and energies to, Brant recently opened Mohawk Vehicle Protection at 5965 Old Hwy #2 in Shannonville.
“I had a business before this one, and it was successful in some ways and in some ways it wasn’t successful, so I was looking for something different and I just figured that liners and coatings was a way to go. And the reason why I decided to open this business is because I knew there was nothing like it in the area. There was no place that offered this sort of work – there are some in Belleville and in Kingston, but nothing in between,” he said.
“And a little while later we added tires and rims and stuff like that to add to the business and because people were asking about them.”
MVP, as the business has come to be known, uses a top lining – one that is guaranteed for life by the manufacturer to not chip or fade.
“This is important to a lot of people around here. There are so many people with trucks and they want to keep their beds protected because they use their trucks for work or for farming. It makes the bed of the truck more durable and adds value to the vehicle if they want to resell it. So, we get a lot of business from that,” Brant said, adding that the level of customer service offered by Mohawk Vehicle Protection has earned them lots of repeat business, and also customers from far out side the area in and around the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Tyendinaga Township.
“I have customers right now that live in Pembroke, Perth, Guelph, Waterloo and London. They are coming from all over because of word of mouth and from Facebook. I think social media is an phenomenal way to advertise. And we also did the Quinte Sportsman’s Show in the spring and that got us a lot of contacts. I will add people I know on social media and they will add their friends – a lot of whom are from outside the area. With this kind of business, word of mouth is really important.
“We are really known for our excellent customer service. With us, we strive to go the extra mile. We will come in on a Sunday if we have to to help a customer. We make ourselves available basically 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We were actually here on Christmas Day installing tires. We offer financing where there is no interest and no payments for 90 days. With most other places you have to pay on the spot or put it on your credit card.”
Another way that Brant gets the word out about his company, as well as supporting other community endeavours, is by sponsoring racing teams and vehicles that compete at local speedways, including Brighton and Brockville. MVP is also the main tire supplier for nearby Shannonville Speedway.
The biggest challenge thus far has been a larger, more established competitor, but Brant says he has been doing well in the face of that opposition because of his customer service excellence and extra support he gives his customers.
In the early stages, Mohawk Vehicle Protection received significant support from the Trenval Business Development Corporation.
“Trenval initially loaned me $100,000 to build the business. And then we got an additional $10,000 when we came up a little short. With that first $100,000 I built the 2,400 square foot building and bought all the tools. Many people thought that wouldn’t be enough. Even some of the Trenval committee members were saying I was going to need more than $100,000 just to build the building. But we did all the work ourselves and got it done,” Brant said.
“Me and my business partner [cousin Thomas Brant] were here every day for four months straight working on it, getting it ready to go. And all along the way Trenval was very supportive. They are phenomenal people. I highly recommend them to any business owner.”
Interestingly, another challenge for Brant has been that business is so good that MVP has already outgrown its 2,400 square feet, so another expansion may be in the offing soon.
For more information, visit the Mohawk Vehicle Protection Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MVPLiningsAndCoatings, or call 613-966-6878