Canadian Shop Specializes in Honesty - Transmission Digest

Canadian Shop Specializes in Honesty

The founders of B&N Transmissions in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, have had a journey that few in the industry have experienced. The shop founders are two brothers who fled their native country of Uganda, Africa in the 1970s under pressure from President Idi Amin, known as the “Butcher of Uganda.”

Brian Charania moved to Canada first and settled in Montreal in 1972. Then, a couple of years later, his younger brother Nazib moved there. “Brian had been a mechanic in Uganda for a few years before moving to Canada and landed a job at a transmission shop when he arrived,” says Najib.

While Nazib was born in Uganda, his family was of East Indian descent, and therefore Amin wanted them to leave. “He didn’t like anyone who wasn’t black, and I had no idea we were different. But he ordered those of Asian descent to leave, so we had no choice.”

Nazib Charania, owner of B&N Transmissions in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

After working for a few years in local transmission shops in Quebec and Ontario, Brian and Nazib branched out on their own. They opened their shop in 1977 near downtown Ottawa, Ontario, which borders Quebec.

Initially, the brothers moved to Ottawa to work for another shop. After a year, they started B&N Transmissions derived from the first letters of their names. “We worked for somebody for one year and then said, ‘let’s open our own place.’” That was a big step, Nazib admits. “It was a new country, new language and all those things. But Canada is a land of opportunity. It was a lot easier to succeed in those days even though you had to work hard.”

Today, there are more than 23,000 auto repair and maintenance businesses in Canada. And more than a third of them are located in Ontario and Quebec. Nazib says there are around 400 shops in Ottawa alone, but the number of transmission repair shops has dwindled to only a handful over the years.

“There used to be a lot more transmission shops, but for some reason, either from lack of keeping up with technology or more general repair shops taking on transmission work, it has reduced quite a bit,” he says. “For example, in our area, we are within a radius of about 10 to 12 kilometers of Quebec. We used to have 25 transmission shops in the area when we started in ’77 up to the late ’80s, but now there are only about seven or eight shops. Most of the franchisees that we used to have in Canada, like Cottman, AAMCO or Mister Transmission, have pretty much disappeared.”

Brian, who is 80 years old, has retired from the business, but Nazib is still active. “My nephew Louie runs the front office. I am more on the technical side now, doing test drives and diagnostics. And then we have another family member, Shafeek Hasim, who is the shop foremen. He is more of a technical guy.”

In 1980, B&N moved to their current location at 1086 Gladstone, where they have a five-bay facility. “We have an elevator to the second floor where we do all of our rebuilding and stocking of spare parts. From just two brothers starting out, we’re now up to 11 people – three in administration, three rebuilders and four R&R people. We build our own torque converters and reman mostly domestic transmissions,” says Nazib. In addition to the shop, they a little one-bay next door with all the machinery to rebuild torque converters.

According to Nazib, 60 percent of their business comes from selling transmissions remanufactured converters to other shops. The rest is retail. They also have a contract with the city to repair transmissions on city-owned vehicles.

B&N focuses mainly on domestic (North American-made) transmissions from the big three and reman a few Hondas, Toyotas and Mazdas. He admits that electronics have made diagnosing today’s transmissions especially difficult, which is why he sends his technicians to as many training seminars as he can that are offered by ATSG, ATRA and others.

“We send our people to whatever the Canadian version of ATSG and ATRA is here. They bring their seminars into Canada.”

An interesting sidenote: Nazib tells us that Louie’s older brother, John, who worked for B&N for years, now runs a shop they own in Angola, Africa. They got an opportunity to open a Bosch-certified shop in Angola just north of South Africa. Nazib didn’t want to go there again after his childhood experiences. However, John and his family jumped at the chance and are now running the shop.

B&N’s website points to their honest service and affordable pricing. After speaking with Nazib, Louie and Shafeek, we can honestly say they are some of the nicest, most courteous folks we’ve interviewed. It’s not hard to see why they’ve maintained a steady business for 40 years. The reviews posted on their website and social media pages illustrate how much their customers appreciate their honesty and friendly attitude, and top-quality workmanship.

You May Also Like

Shop profile: Virginia’s AAMCO Transmissions is built on life lessons from a family of industry lifers

Mary Gentry has been around transmissions and automotive repair all her life. Her father ran a shop, her brothers are all in the transmission business; she even met her husband in her shop. It pretty much runs in the family. Growing up in the business, you learn a lot of lessons. Mary, owner of AAMCO

AAMCO-Profile-1

Mary Gentry has been around transmissions and automotive repair all her life. Her father ran a shop, her brothers are all in the transmission business; she even met her husband in her shop. It pretty much runs in the family.

Growing up in the business, you learn a lot of lessons. Mary, owner of AAMCO Transmissions in Roanoke, Virginia, remembers three in particular that her dad imparted on her.

Hard parts hunting

Image caption: The diagram representing results from the 2022 Transmission Digest survey of retail shops tracks the various sources those shops rely on for acquiring hard parts. The results don’t provide a breakdown of the original source of the parts. Here we show where the order is placed by the rebuilder. Related Articles – Shop

hard-parts-1400
Shop profile: Small-town RAMM Transmission puts family first

When you spend time talking to transmission repair shops, you’ll hear a lot about the importance of family. Transmission shops, after all, tend to be small and specialized, so it follows that many of them are family-owned and operated. Related Articles – Shop profile: AJ’s Transmissions has made a name for itself with customers and

Customer-focused approach: American Transmission specializes in automatics and customer service

“We only specialize in transmissions in this shop; this is not a one-for-all shop,” says Bo West, owner of American Transmission in Louisville, Kentucky. “We only do automatic transmissions. No general repair, no tires, no engines, no tuneups, no oil changes. None of that. Just transmissions.” Related Articles – Speedy’s Transmission Races Ahead of the

American-Transmission-1400
Nominate your shop to be featured in TD’s shop profile series

Our best wishes to you all for a successful and happy new year. I know we’re all trying to overcome the challenges of supply chain shortages, inflation and the pandemic. But, every time we see January roll onto the calendar, we have the opportunity to take a fresh look at what we do and quite

Other Posts

Transmission slipping in fifth gear: An elusive cause of a common problem

Sometimes, finding the cause of a complaint isn’t as straightforward as one would expect; sometimes, these causes can be very elusive.

December-Shift-Pointers-Figure-1-1400
FCA 62TE missing caged needle bearing

The complaint When the Low Clutch Housing is removed from the Underdrive Center Shaft of a 62TE transmission, one notices that the caged needle bearing located on the shaft between the sealing rings was missing (Figure 1, above).  Related Articles – Ford harsh downshifts: 6R75 2-1, 10R60 7-6 – Ford 6R140 no engagement cold –

Tech-Talk-Q4-2022-Figure-8-1400
A 3D printing solution for 948TE offset pump access

The Chrysler 948TE has an offset pump mounted in a housing that is retained by round internal snap ring that must be squeezed to release the pump from the housing (seen in Figure 1). Related Articles – Dealing with PCM fault codes on the Ford 5R110W – Ford FNR5 slipping or no reverse hot –

techspeak-feature-1400
ATSG Joins Training Lineup at AAPEX 2022

For the first time, attendees at AAPEX 2022 will have access to training by the Automatic Transmission Service Group (ATSG), an authority on transmission technical support and repair. Related Articles – Jasper adds new members to leadership team – BorgWarner’s Tom Hardies passes – Complete TD’s shop survey for a chance to win a gift

ATSG-AAPEX-600