From beginnings in owner's garage, Foothills Group grows into leader in heavy-duty truck service

From beginnings in owner's garage, Foothills Group grows into leader in heavy-duty truck service

Just six years ago, Fabian Bonjean founded Foothills Group determined to provide quality and transparent service with an unmatched warranty in the truck service and repair industry.

Today he has three locations and 70 employees, and his company’s continued growth requires more space.

After high school, Bonjean decided to seek a career in the automotive industry that he felt would fulfil his passion for cars.

After four years at SAIT he graduated as an automotive service technician, but had enjoyed working with a heavy equipment shop during that time. The big units became his new love and, after buying a house, he built a triple garage and soon became busier at his home shop than at work.

He left his day job in January 2017 to work for himself, and found he had no problem getting clients and making a good living.

By May of that year he made another leap of faith and leased a 4,800-square-foot bay in Foothills Industrial Park, and within 18 months was able to hire other technicians to work on cars, pickup trucks and heavy-duty trucks.

His neighbour needed to expand his space, so Bonjean took the opportunity to vacate his and move across the street in early 2019 into 11,000 square feet.

Six months later, the amount of heavy-duty business had increased to the point he was able to lease an additional building dedicated to a heavy truck operation — 16,000 square feet fitted with overhead cranes and enough interior space to allow for 14 heavy-duty trucks to be worked on at the same time in separate bays.

Bonjean and his business quickly become a leader in the heavy-duty market, and in 2020 opened a large 27,000-square-foot facility in Lethbridge. He moved his family there for two years to oversee operations but returned to live in Calgary to lead his company that, enjoying a hard-earned, solid reputation, has grown to 70 employees, including 40 mechanics at the three locations, with 10 mobile service units.

Currently, one of the mobile units is working in Golden and five are in Sparwood in B.C. where Bonjean is focusing on expanding.

Foothills Group has a busy parts department for all makes of trucks, stocks oils and fluids, and has three sales staff and 11 service staff advising customers on scheduling, work orders and the like.

What started as a one-man operation now enjoys relationships with many large corporations and construction companies, oilfield contractors, moving companies and garbage haulers, plus private automotive and RV owners.

Bonjean says he is following with high interest the growth of the electric vehicle market and the opportunities to repair and service them.

The Foothills Group owner and CEO has — in six short years — built a progressive truck repair company, leading the industry in company culture and customer service. He is currently going through a shareholder process to enable several staff members to own equity in the business, intending to become an employee-owned company in the future. All employees enjoy great benefit plans and free-lunch Fridays, creating a work ethic that will help the now 30 year-old Bonjean achieve his expansion plans that include growth by acquisition, and new bricks and mortar in Alberta and B.C. that will push his staff total up to 100 by year end.

Electing to follow his passion and choose SAIT courses has proven to be a wise decision for the young businessman.

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