DOTY finalist: Harman Heavy Vehicle Specialists

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Updated Jul 27, 2015

On Monday Truck Parts & Service announced its finalists for the 2015 Distributor of the Year award. We are now taking a brief look at each nominated distributor.

For information on Harman HVS, we turn to Vice President of Operations and Marketing Ian Johnston.

When was you business founded, and by whom?

Harman Supply Company was founded in 1938 by Roy Harman. Harman’s grew into a brake and spring shop from its original general supply company, before being purchased by Ralph Johnston and Gord Everett in 1955. Over the years Harman’s became Harman Automotive Supply, before evolving into Harman Heavy Vehicle Specialists, Ltd. in 1984, under the ownership of Jay Johnston and Rob Everett.

From there, Harman HVS grew into a three-location distributorship before adding a separate service division in 1996. Now in 2015, Harman HVS is in it’s 77th year of business and is 100 percent owned by the Johnston family and is run by both second- (Jay) and third-generation (Ian) family members in the business.

How many locations do you have?

Harman HVS currently has three locations. A master superstore distribution center in Cambridge, Ontario, a branch warehouse location in Woodstock, Ontario, and a parts, service and driveline fabrication shop location in Ayr, Ontario.

How many employees do you have?

We have 52 employees with both our distribution and service divisions.

What is your company’s value proposition?

Harman’s has a simple value proposition; great quality service.

What has been the biggest change in your business over the past calendar year?

Harman HVS has gone through a massive change and evolution over the past 12 to 16 months. For starters we made a major business ownership/management change in buying out an existing partner from the business.

Secondly, we built a new master warehouse superstore, moving two existing warehouse locations as well as all the office and management team into one new facility.

Finally, under a new management structure and vision, Harman’s has branched out into some new non-traditional product lines to help diversify our product offering and expand our customer service model. Other than that, it’s been business as usual at Harman the past year.

Why do you believe the heavy-duty aftermarket has nominated you for this award?

I think it is because we have a very long standing history in the heavy-duty aftermarket, but I also believe it is because we have always been very actively involved in the industry through a variety of industry associations, councils and boards. We at Harman have been very committed to giving back to an industry that has given so much to us, for three generations over 75-plus years.

For more on Harman HVS, go to, and check Truck Parts & Service magazine in the coming months.

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