Harper Family Marks 90 Years in the Tire Business

Oct. 18, 2021

Harper’s Tire Ltd., a third-generation tire dealership in Calgary, Alberta,  is celebrating 90 years in business.

The tire dealership has gone through a few transformations in those 90 years, and brothers Dan and Tom Harper have compiled photos and mementos that show the company’s history into a book published on the Harper’s Tire website.

“We have boxes of old documents and photos starting from when my grandfather started the business in 1931. And they sort of tell a story about Calgary through the decades,” says Dan Harper, president of Harper’s Tire. “The city has gone through some hard times over the decades, and we wanted to celebrate its resilience, as well as our 90 years in business. But given the current economic uncertainty caused by Covid we didn’t think having a big party or sales event was appropriate, so we thought we’d pick a few of these old photos and other memorabilia and put them in a book.”

In 1931 John Munroe Harper bought Foster’s Vulcanizing in Calgary — for $1,450. He paid $400 upfront and then paid $100 a month to pay off the balance. In the years that followed the business moved a few times and experimented with selling boats and skis. But the business started with retreading and tires have remained the backbone.

John Munroe Harper retired in 1961 and afterwards, with his sons at the helm, the company eventually turned from retreading to a retail focus. The eldest Harper was a founding member of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association and served as president in 1962 and 1963. In 1979 and 1980 his son, Stan Harper, followed in his footsteps as the association’s president. A third-generation, Dan, also served as president of the organization in 1999 and 2000. (Dan has also served as president of the Tire Dealers of Canada from 2000-2004.)

Harper’s Tire sells tires, offers a full menu of mechanical services, and offers year-round tire storage.