After almost 40 years in the tire business, Lawrence Porter is ready to hang up his coveralls.
The well-known and well-respected owner of Williams Lake’s Integra Tire Auto Centre, Porter grew up in Landis, Sask. accepting a job to work during the winter months at Kal Tire in Williams Lake in 1976.
“By 1978 I’d kept coming back to work during the winters and decided I’d stay year round,” Porter said, noting he worked for the company until 2001 when he saw an opportunity to open his own shop in the lakecity.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with vehicles and having contact with customers, and it was a great opportunity,” he said.
In 2002, Porter opened Integra Tire Auto Centre at 322 Mackenzie Ave. S in Williams Lake where, it just so happened, he had begun his career with Kal Tire in the same location.
“It was the exact building I started at Kal Tire with,” he said. “It’s come full circle. It started and ended here. I always wanted to have my own shop and saw an opportunity and here we are today.”
Beginning with a staff of three, Porter said the business has grown to a staff of roughly 14 employees.
Asked what he’s enjoyed about working in the tire industry, Porter said it’s the people.
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“I have a lot of good friends, and a lot of customers who are now my good friends,” Porter said. “I’ve met so many people through here over the years. There probably aren’t too many people who I don’t know who they are.”
He said he’s always prided himself on providing fair service for the most fair price he can.
Integra Tire Auto Centre provides fully licensed mechanical service specializing in all things to do with tires — off-road, on-road, and services all makes and models of vehicles. Integra also has two road service vehicles that will travel to provide tire service and repairs in the event of an incident.
In celebration of Porter’s career, Integra Tire is inviting the community to come celebrate with him on Friday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the shop.
“I’ll be here all day,” Porter joked.
The community is also invited to come out to meet new store manager Richard Ward, 36, who has returned to his hometown of Williams Lake to take on the role. Taking over full ownership of the business will be Porter’s partner, Wayne Peterson.
“The store’s in good hands with Richard and Wayne,” Porter said, thanking all of his staff over the years for helping him run a successful business.
“It’s all gone by so quickly. When you look back it’s like the blink of an eye that it was 17 years ago I opened.”
In his retirement, Porter said he plans to spend more time on his hobbies including golfing, boating and snowmobiling, as well as travelling with his wife, Linda, in their motorhome.