Anyone in the market for heavy-duty power tools, essential shop tools or basic tools for tinkering in the garage will want to make a point of visiting Western Bearing for their biannual Tool Days event on Thursday, October 26.

There will be numerous mark-downs and specials throughout the store, and owner Doug Borland acknowledges that many of his customers have been waiting for the promotion to load up on tools and supplies going into winter and ahead of the spring season.

“We used to do it once a year, but now we’re doing it twice–spring and fall–to accommodate the ag year,” he says. “Agriculture business is a big piece of what we do. We put a lot of effort into Tool Days.”

New to the fall event is the Milwaukee Red Zone, where shoppers will have the chance to score big savings on the brand’s industry-leading power tools.

As Borland explains, the Red Zone is a designated area of the store exclusive to Milwaukee products. And, as the name suggests, it’s decked out in brand colours, logos and specific sets of retail display merchandise.

A major distributor of Milwaukee, Western Bearing is able to stock its inventory at top-tier discounts. In 2022, the company approached Borland with the Red Zone concept, and he agreed to dedicate the floor space.

“We’re the biggest Red Zone in Canada,” he says.

Located at 223 Saskatchewan Ave E in Portage la Prairie, Western Bearing has some experience when it comes to being a big, expanding facility. Ever since its founding in 1966 by Borland’s father, Ian, the business has gradually, prudently expanded down the street. Most recently, 900 sq ft of retail mezzanine was added to store and hold their workwear.

western bearingIt was calm at the store Wednesday night, the evening before the big event

Nevertheless, Borland’s approach continues to be customer-focused, which means he and his staff do a lot more than simply move product.

“We’re kind of the opposite of big box retail,” he explains. “We have many of the same products, but we’re much more on the problem-solving side of the industry. People might come here because they’re not sure what they need. They come to fix a problem, and they come here to talk with us about what they should use to fix their problem.”

The breadth of products on offer, inclusive of tools, auto parts, shop supplies, hardware and workwear, requires specialization among Western Bearing’s personnel, but Borland emphasizes that he’s proud of the amount of expertise his staff are able to dispense on a daily basis.

“We have various product champions within the building for different things,” he says. “I have some very knowledgeable individuals in the store, and it’s what keeps people coming back.”

Promotions such as Tool Days keep the store busy as well. And, as an event, it’s kind of Western Bearing’s way of saying thank-you to its customers, while welcoming new ones with a unique occasion.

“We put a lot of effort into Tool Days,” says Borland. “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Our customers wait for this day.”

Western Bearing, at 223 Saskatchewan Ave E in Portage, is open Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm and Saturday, 8am-12pm. They can be reached by calling (204) 857-7821, or by visiting their website.