Superior Quality and Service Passed Down Through the Generations Key to Naylor Systems Success
It’s an inspiring story of how an idea meant to help students learn about welding and fabrication ended up becoming the foundation for a business – one that is considered to be an industry leader, with customers from coast to coast and an unparalleled reputation for product and customer service excellence.
Such is the tale of Cameron, Ontario’s Naylor Systems, a family-owned and operated firm that has been designing and constructing a variety of docks and marine systems, including their exceptional and popular range of boat lifts, since 1975. Kaye Naylor was a licenced tool and die maker with a natural gift for engineering. In 1974, the shop teacher and budding entrepreneur worked with his high school shop class to build a steel boat lift. Seeing the effectiveness of the lift in action, Naylor’s neighbour asked to have one build for his boats. Four more orders came in from friends and acquaintances that summer and the next thing Naylor and his wife Aileen knew, they were in the marine business.
A second generation, Wendell Naylor joined the family business, leaving his job at the Kirkfield Lift lock to help out with the budding venture. Wendell is now the company manager and CEO working alongside his wife Janice who helps out in sales as well as managing another family business. For the past several years, a third generation – Wendell’s sons Matt and Travis have become key components, with Matt running the parts and service department and doing some sales, while Travis works as sales manager and site estimator. Grandmother Aileen also still handles all the books, a task she has performed with aplomb for 45 years.
“It’s great. I get to see my family every day. We work with one another every single day. We are involved in more things than just this business; we have a lot of other businesses that we all work in. The big thing about Naylor Systems is the experience and wisdom my brother and I get from being around my dad and grandfather. My grandfather has seen it all. He lived through the Great Depression and through recessions in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and up to today. There is an amazing amount of knowledge of the business and the products that we’re trying to absorb as quickly as we can,” said Matt Naylor.
“And the reality is that starting with my grandfather, we have always stood behind our products, which means we have clientele who have been with us for as long as we have been in business. They have products that are still working after all these years, whereas if you look at the vast majority of engineered goods on the market these days, if you can get five or 10 years out of them, you’re doing really well.”
Naylor Systems has a wide array of advanced docks, marine railways and boat lifts, featuring high quality galvanized and aluminum infrastructure, built for the individual needs of boaters, and designed to survive harsh weather and water conditions. This core business is augmented by the sales of parts, servicing of the equipment and additions to existing products.
The growth of the business, even through harsh economic times, is a credit to the quality and diversity of the products and the service given to customers large and small.
“It’s the quality and the craftsmanship and the pride and attention to detail for every product – that’s always been number one and has factored into the amazing brand loyalty with a lot of people. We are a little more expensive that anyone else in the marketplace, but you are getting what you pay for, and the price is long forgotten as it is surpassed by the quality and reliability of the product. And they are designed and manufactured by a family business in a small little Ontario town,” said Naylor.
“When you’ve been around as long as we have, you get generational customers. The Naylor name has definitely made quite a difference in the marketplace, especially amongst the marinas and anyone who has been in the marine industry. A lot of people know who we are because of the time we’ve been in business and for doing good work this whole time.”
Naylor said there is a solid base of customers throughout the Kawartha Lakes region and the rest of Eastern Ontario, but that there are also orders going regularly to both the west and east coasts, and increasingly to the prairie provinces.
“At the end of the day, we have everything on hand here. You have everybody you require to talk to, sales, parts, installation and more. If you don’t want to talk to one of us young bucks, dad is always available here, and my grandfather, at 83, still drives into work every day and is hard at it,” he said, adding that the younger demographic working in the family business is also leveraging social media and their interactive and user-friendly website to reach new audiences.
Both Matt and Travis have young children, making for a potential fourth generation of Naylors to run the family business.
“We enjoy what wo do too much to ever let this business get out of the family. We don’t want to betray that family dynamic and the loyalty that we’ve built. Not that our family requires a business to be happy and successful, but it’s a nice attribute to bring us all together. The business is always going to stay in the hands of our family. It’s always going to go forward in the hands of one of us. I am sure in the future one or more of our children will just keep things going, because it’s a wonderful business to be in. It’s fun and exciting – not every day is the same,” said Matt.
For more information, visit https://naylorsystems.com.
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