In 1973 Robert Greek started Atlantic Electronics Limited in Dartmouth. AEL began as a two-person company selling tech equipment in a niche market of boats and oceangoing vessels. "It was purely doing service and some sales of marine electronics," says Mark Greek, Robert's son and current CEO, "radars, VHF's, sounders, traditional wheelhouse electronics." Those are still on sale today, but AEL's offerings have grown. These days, for example, they can build their own computers and nav panels for custom orders.
AEL's philosophy is to provide excellent customer service with a constant eye toward growth. "We're 8 locations now in total," says Mark, "we bought out one of our major suppliers back in the early 90's when the moratorium hit the fisheries. We decided to jump in and leverage ourselves pretty deep." They began manufacturing their own products on top of that about 10 years ago.
The business has become a multi-generational one. Mark's daughter Ashley started full-time with AEL in 2015 in dealer sales. "I started part-time when I was through school, and then I was actually kicked out for a few years," she says, "because that was my dad's rule: You have to go out and do something else and get some skillset to make yourself useful and then you can come back," she laughs. Ashley is now Controller for the company.
How has AEL maintained and grown for five decades? "Our main business philosophy is we service our customers 24/7 and we maintain a very high quality staff," explains Mark, "we have very low staff turnover so we believe in treating the employees right, they treat the customers right and you'll be around year to year."
The rewards have multiplied too. "We're dealing with third-generation customers now, so we're dealing with the grandsons and granddaughters of my father's original customers. It's rewarding when you build that good relationship up with them, that they count on you as part of keeping them on the water. We also heavily donate to hospitals and sports teams. We've been very active in the community over the last 50 years. We like to give back to the communities that support us."
As for the future, "we've been actively hiring young employees, specifically service technicians so we can train them up to be around for the future. We're always looking for any new business opportunity" to continue to grow.
As AEL grows and its services and products diversify, everyone at the company is increasing their knowledge. With today's pace of change it's a busy task. "It's a never-ending learning curve," comments Mark, "it's always fluid. That's one thing about it."
Atlantic Electronics Limited has become the longest privately-owned marine electronics company in all of Canada. "We've never changed hands, never changed company names or anything like that. It's been consistent from day one," says Mark, "and family-owned the whole time."
Congratulations to Atlantic Electronics Limited on marking 50 years of business!