1898 – 1931. April 23, 1898 John Munro Skinner Harper born in Scotland & immigrated to Calgary with his family in 1912. J.M. with his father George & brothers George Jr. Williams & James enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army serving in France. When J.M. was discharged, he was offered post-service education & opted to take the vulcanizing course. He was then hired by George Lancaster to work with Fisk Tire. Nov. 15, 1931 J.M. left Fisk Tire & purchased Foster’s vulcanizing located on 130 – 12th Ave. SW, Calgary. He then changed the name to Harper’s Tire Service. The telephone number was 7878, becoming M7878, AM7878 & finally 262-7878.
1931 – 1961.During this period, J.M. added more equipment to be able to provide more vulcanizing for repairs & retreading, 3 more lots were added & a new building was built in 1940. During the war years (1940-1945), tires were rationed; so satisfactory repairs were necessary & custom retreading became a necessity. In 1945 another addition was made to the building to house the new retread molds & a basement for storage of materials & products. Continuing on into the 1960’s, saw a continued growth in the business of servicing more large & small fleets, farm tires, construction tires & over the highway truck tires. Retreading was an important part of the business; one large contract being the city transit system. In 1961, J.M. Harper retired, the tire business was combined with Harper’s Hardware and Jack, Don & Stan (& his three sons) became partners. At this time, the gasoline pumps were removed & a new showroom was constructed on the front of the property.
1961 – 2009. Growth of the marine & sports sales division happened during this time frame (1961-1972); a change in focus for the tire division. Retreading was discontinued & more attention was diverted from large fleets, to small fleets & retail business. A new facility at 5520 – 4th St. SE was purchased for the Marine division. In 1962 J.M. Harper became one of the founding members of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association & served as its President in 1962 & 1963. Sales growth continued during the 70’s & start of the 80’s for both divisions, the ski department was sold & a new facility was constructed for the tire division & Stan & Don purchased Jack Harper’s shares. The old facility on 12th Ave. SW was sold to TransAlta Utilities.
In early 80’s a new facility at 5516 – 4th St. SE was built for Harper’s Tire (1931) Ltd. In 1979 & 1980, Stan Harper served as President of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association. A slump in the economy in the mid-80’s caused a down turn in profits & sales but by 1990, the business was turned around. In 1990 the assets of Harper’s Tire Service (Calgary) Ltd. were sold to 2 new companies: Harper’s Marine Ltd. (Don Harper & family) & Harper’s Tire (1931) Ltd. (Stan Harper & family). Continuing through the 90’s & into the early 00’s; Harper’s has experienced very satisfactory sales & growth from sales & fleets, retail & wholesale & increased mechanical services. Dan Harper served as President of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association in 1999 & 2000 & also serviced as President of the Tire Dealers of Canada from 2000-2004. Dan Harper & Tom Harper are now running Harper’s Tire now. In 2006 we celebrated our 75th anniversary. We remolded the shop & created 6 tire service bays with the most up-to-date equipment. We have 2 alignment hoists & 5 mechanical service bays now. In 2006 we created a separate wholesale office located at 512 Manitou Rd. SE. We became licensed for Out of Province Inspections & Commercial Vehicle Inspections.
2010 – Present. In May 2010, we opened our 2nd location in Douglasdale at 318, 11488 – 24th St. SE. We have 8 service bays with 1 alignment hoist, with the most up-to-date equipment. We have 2 licensed mechanics, 1 apprentice & 4 tire technicians. In 2011 our warehouse moved to new location at #9, 4216 – 61st Ave SE and we celebrated our 80th Anniversary. In February 2013 we opened our 3rd location in Crowfoot at 150, 155 Crowfoot Way NW with 12 service bays with 1 alignment hoist, with the most-up-to date equipment. We have 2 licensed mechanics, 2 apprentices & 5 tire technicians. In December 2013 we closed operation of the wholesale division. In October 2016 we will be celebrating our 85th Anniversary.