Taber Transport will officially receive the award on Jan. 17 during the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night at the Heritage Inn. Other recipients for this year include Audrey Krizsan (Outstanding Citizen) Joel Mills of Pro Performance Gym (Spirit of Taber), and Ross Jaber of the Mediterranean Grill (Customer Service Excellence).
“It’s very humbling,” said owner/operator Kei Nishida. “I just finished 33 years as a partner.”
A business with deep roots in the community, Taber Transport is something of a fixture in the area.
“Taber Transport is probably one of the oldest privately-owned businesses in Taber,” said Nishida. “I am the third owner. I think Taber Transport was established somewhere around 1936.”
A truck-transport business that ships general freight, Taber Transport makes customer satisfaction a big part of its operational ethos.
“Absolutely — that’s what keeps your business going,” said Nishida. “Customer service is the driving force of our business. We run four schedules per day between Lethbridge and Taber. We offer daily service between Lethbridge and Taber, and overnight service from almost all major points in Western Canada. We can get overnight out of Regina, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, Edmonton.”
Taber Transport employs nine individuals.
“Our business is built on service,” said Nishida. “The customer is always important, and is the driving force of our business. If you don’t have happy customers, you don’t have a business.”
Very few privately owned and operated businesses still exist in the industrial area, according to Nishida.
“It’s either get big or get out. Just going out in the industrial area here, there’s just a handful of privately-owned companies left. Those big corporations come in and buy out the small ones. There’s really not very many of us left. It’s sad to say, because the personal service is getting lost. So we strive to keep satisfied customers, because that’s what’s keeping us going.”
Nishida lays the majority of the success for the business firmly at the doors of his employees.
“Absolutely — it’s nice to be recognized for the effort that my employees put in to keep happy customers. They are the ones that are in contact with everybody all of the time. It’s my employees that make the business. I’m not a talker, I’m more of a lead by example kind of person.
Taber is an ideal place to operate for a variety of reasons, added Nishida.
“It’s excellent. This is a great place to be, because it doesn’t depend on one industry. It’s got agriculture, it’s got oilfield — it’s diversified.”
Nishida again praised the quality and integrity of his employees in keeping the business an effective competitor in today’s fast-paced business environment.
“I’ve got a very good staff right now — it’s the employees that make this business. I’m not sitting here in my office chair saying I’m the guy that makes this go. It’s these guys out here that are out in this crappy weather. I did it once when I was younger — I’ve been through all that — and I really appreciate how difficult it can be.”