Ralph & Cathy Sheardown
Founders, Crompton’s Auto Care
Ralph and Cathy Sheardown are the owners of Crompton’s Auto Care. Ralph was born in Manitoba and finished high school in Richmond, B.C. where Ralph met Cathy, where they both graduated in 1972. Ralph worked in a service station as a service attendant / tech apprentice, and Cathy worked for an insurance company. In 1975 they were married in Richmond, B.C. Over the years Ralph was an auxiliary RCMP in both Chilliwack and Abbotsford, and was involved with the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Kinsmen. With their children they also became involved in Beavers, Cubs, Minor Hockey, Ringette, and The Whalers Swim Club.
Cathy was born in Vancouver and raised in Vancouver and Richmond, but Ralph was used to moving around, being an Air Force brat. In 1976 Ralph convinced her they should move east so they could afford a house, as prices in Vancouver were getting out of reach. So they bought Cathy’s dream home in Abbotsford.
Ralph received his government license in auto repair in 1978. Believing Ralph could do a better job of running an Automotive Service business than the people Ralph worked for over the years Ralph decided to investigate the possibilities. As it turned out, Ralph’s employer helped him open a brand new four bay, 16 gas pump facility in Chilliwack in 1980.
Ralph and Cathy’s first child Ryan was born in 1979. They needed to sell their home to get the cash they needed to start their first business, and it took some convincing to take that plunge! So, they purchased a smaller starter house in Chilliwack, with all that work of fencing and planting lawns and landscaping to do again. This was a very exciting time however, with a new baby, new house and new business in a new town.
For those that can remember in the 1980s inflation was out of control, interest rates were hovering around 20% and Ralph and Cathy were one of the many families who were struggling. With advances in technology, expensive equipment, marketing, employees etc. it did not take very much time for Ralph to realize this industry was not a cakewalk. Looking back now, all of Ralph’s employers were his mentors, but it would take some time for him to realize this. Cathy and Ralph both remember sitting around their kitchen table with their greatest mentor Pete Roberts, he was instrumental in getting them started in the business, with paper and pencils and calculators trying to cut costs and build the business.
In 1982 their daughter Karina was born. But now their little starter house was too small, so they moved to a larger house close to schools. They grew to love the area and worked hard at their business and stayed pretty close to home during those years.
The railroad that crossed next to their shop decided to put an overpass in front of their property, which took away access to the main road – putting them under a major overpass. Ralph and Cathy realized this was going to affect their business hugely. Their lease was due to be renewed, so they started looking for a place to move the business. In 1987 they took over a tiny old gas station with two bays in Mission. They found out the place had a bad reputation, but they turned it around and did a booming business there. The only problem was it was too small and had no opportunity for more growth. The business quickly outgrew the facility.
Meanwhile Ralph and Cathy moved their home back to Abbotsford, very close to their first dream home. When their lease came up for renewal they were told they would have a very substantial increase, so they decided they had better look for that larger space they needed to grow their business. They found a six bay shop under construction, and moved their business again in 1990 to Pitt Meadows under the Firestone banner. They decided to stay in their home and commute to work.
Ralph and Cathy worked hard starting over again, and after 8 years at that location they sold the business and took some time off for themselves. They found they enjoyed traveling but soon realized they were too young to retire, and Ralph wanted to work again. Ralph did some consulting work for another automotive shop and ended up working for them for a year and a half. It must be in his blood, because Ralph wanted to own his own shop again. So in 2000 they purchased Crompton Motors in Aldergrove.
This time they were taking over an existing business, with an already good reputation. After 31 years of paying rent to a landlord, Ralph and Cathy decided they should purchase land and eventually build their very own shop. In 2010 Ralph’s dream finally become a reality when they opened their new location in Aldergrove in their new Crompton’s facility.
Ralph enjoys hockey, what Canadian doesn’t? Ralph and Cathy both love the water; snow skiing, bicycling, cooking, computers, camping and traveling. They have two grandchildren. Ralph says, “The only thing I need is more time, I have everything a guy could want or need.”