Fred and Mary Barber started Autow in 1980. They’re celebrating 40 years in 2020 (Cassidy Dankochik photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel towing company celebrates 40 years with old-time contest

Nearly $2,000 in prizes are availible if you know Quesnel’s business history

Fred Barber didn’t expect the towing business he started to last 40 years. He started driving tow trucks in 1965

“The only reason I did it was because every time I built a towing business for someone else, they sold it,” he said, laughing. “Then I was out of a job.”

After 40 years in business, Quesnel Towing/Autow is celebrating in a way that honours the town’s heritage. They’re holding a draw that tests participants’ knowledge of Quesnel’s business history.

“We wanted people to work for it,” Patty Barber-Langlois said. “We didn’t want to sell tickets, we don’t want the money back.”

Plans for a celebratory BBQ were scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead participants will be asked to fill out a questionnaire with answers that could be tough.

People will be competing for big prizes. Up for grabs is $500 in gas and $500 in groceries for first place plus more. Second prize is $250 in gas, and third prize is an emergency car kit. Every prize winner will receive a BCAA-plus membership for one year.

Barber-Langlois said the competition was inspired when reminiscing about Quesnel’s history with her dad.

“You’re going to have to talk to your older generation,” she said. “[The answers] are not out in Google. We wanted people communicating, talking about it.”

Autow was started out of Fred and his wife, Mary’s, house in 1980. Eventually they had to expand because the yard was filling up with cars.

“Most people are happy to see us,” Barber said. “They’re in a problem, and we’re problem solvers. Most of the training [our drivers] go through is problem solving.”

These days, Fred, now 75 years old, says he picks and chooses what he does for work, concentrating mostly on training.


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