ARGUS CARRIERS LTD.
C.G. (Gerry) Royston returned to Vancouver with his bride, Rose, after the second world war. His former employer Woodwards offered him his job back but on the condition he move to Port Alberni to open their new store. With a pregnant wife he declined the offer and decided to go into business for himself so he could stay in Vancouver to raise his family.
A small loan enabled Gerry to purchase an Austin truck and on January 17, 1948, he parked his truck in the alley off of Seymour Street adjacent to the prestigious J.R. Spencer department store and waited for his first customer.
On seeing a woman struggling with her parcels, he offered to deliver her parcels right to her door for a nominal charge of twenty cents.
From this modest beginning Gerry started Argus Carriers and within a few months he doubled his fleet and hired his first employee, Clifford (Cliff) Pybus. With two trucks to keep busy Gerry scouted the area for more business. There were several printers in the vicinity and he started delivering their finished work to their customers. The fleet soon expanded to three.
Gerry met Lloyd Shillingford who also had three trucks and they concluded they could be more efficient and better serve their customers by joining forces.
On January 13, 1955, Argus Carriers Ltd. became an incorporated company.
Specializing in small parcel delivery, the business continued to grow. The key to operating efficiency was the establishment of pick-up and delivery routes. To avoid delivery duplication, the vehicles would assemble together to sort and exchange parcels based on the delivery routes. After completing the morning deliveries the pick-up cycle would begin for the afternoon deliveries.
The central sorting of parcels was always a challenge and with six trucks the company secured permission to assemble in the parking lot of the Safeway store on West Broadway. After a while it became clear that indoor sorting was necessary. The company leased an old autobody shop at 1042 Nelson Street. The main floor served as the dispatch and sorting centre with the basement used to park cars to augment the rent.
By 1963, the company had outgrown 1042 Nelson and moved to a new purpose designed terminal located at 15 East 7th Avenue, still in Vancouver. This building had two floors with Argus Carriers utilizing the main floor and the lower floor being sub-leased to another delivery service called A.G. Dellow Parcel Service which specialized in serving the florist industry. This arrangement would later have a significant impact on Argus Carriers.
In 1970, Gerry Royston had acquired all the shares in Argus Carriers Ltd. but was facing a sagging economy and increasing competition. The business started to take its toll on Gerry and near the end of 1972, Rey Neufeld, working at A.G. Dellow, noticed the strain on Gerry Royston.
Respecting one another, Rey asked Gerry what was wrong and Gerry confided that he was thinking of selling Argus if he could find someone who would keep it going as it had been for more than 24 years.
Rey Neufeld did not waste any time and said he would like to buy it.
Gerry Royston, confident that Rey Neufeld would keep the company intact, started the negotiations which culminated in Rey Neufeld acquiring Argus Carriers Ltd. under an attractive financial arrangement. The fleet consisted of 16 aging small trucks and a group of dedicated employees.
These were difficult and trying times, but through hard work, renewed vision and employee commitment Argus Carriers Ltd. began to return to prosperity. Motor Carrier Licences were obtained for other Lower Mainland areas and Vancouver Island allowing the company to continue to expand.
Now under the leadership of a second generation of Neufelds, the company continues to prosper from its offices and terminal located on Myrtle Street in Burnaby.