There is the story of an ice cream shack in Carcross that had no ice cream for the weekend. So, an employee of G-P Distributing put foam insulation in the back of her car and made the 90-minute round trip to stock up the freezer.
That’s an amazing story to anyone but Kyle and Tyler Doll, the father and son team who are the owner and operations manager, respectively, of G-P Distributing.
They run the food services wholesale company that grew and grew to include many distributorships. “We do that for all of our customers,” says Tyler (the son and heir apparent).
He goes on to tell his own story of driving to Dawson City in a mad dash to catch a helicopter on its way to a mining camp. He got the food into the net just as it was leaving. “We understand what it is like in the Yukon,” he says.
Kyle adds: “We don’t have the cheapest prices, but we employ 25 people. Our competitors have three employees, combined. “They keep us on our toes. “It used to be that 20 years ago the majority of the people who owned the restaurants, hotels, and highway lodges were longtime Yukoners and recognized the benefits of dealing with the local guy and supporting him.
“Our territory is the entire Yukon, Inuvik, places in between, and down into Atlin, BC.” “Which we consider the Yukon,” adds Tyler, earning him a nod and smile from his dad. “I am really proud of the staff who have been here 15 years, 10, eight years,” says Kyle. “We have one guy with a couple of degrees, but he likes the family atmosphere here.”
“A lot of people, in physical jobs, are just there from eight to four for the weekly pay cheque,” adds Tyler. “But any of these guys, if we say there is a truck coming in late, they say, ‘Yeah, I’ll come in’. “We have guys with good work ethics and they want to be here for us because of what he (Kyle) does for them.”
There are a lot of moving parts in a food wholesale business. Its low profit margin demands efficiency and attention to detail. But, after 20 years of success — when 14 other businesses have come and gone — it does require a pause to reflect on what it has all meant.
It all started on May 28, 1995. Kyle had been the branch manager for The Grocery People when it was decided that their location in the Burns Building, which had been built for the U.S. Army’s construction of the Alaska Highway, was not worth fixing anymore.
The wholesale business was sold to Charlie Grubisich, who already had distributorships here. But he didn’t want to leave his southern home. And Jim Crawford, the president of The Grocery People, didn’t want to leave Kyle on the street. So he encouraged them to have a chat. “We met in his hotel room at the Edgewater Hotel for an hour and we left, shaking hands, as business partners,” says Kyle. “I was the working partner — the experience — and he was he was the money.”
Ergo, the name: G-P Distributing, which is “Grubisich-Partner”. “I like to say, ‘Good People’,” says Kyle. “‘Great Prices’,” Tyler chimes in.
It could have been a chance for him to get into a line of work that was less demanding and less stressful, but, “the food business is the business I want to be in,” he says today. His son explains: “It’s a very reactionary business, fast-paced, we thrive off of that.” “Yeah, it’s a challenge everyday,” says Kyle. “I come to work most days at two or three in the morning and I go home at fi ve to work out and then come back to work at 6:30. “My wife just shakes her head; it is just a drive that I have.”
But the plan is for Kyle to retire — a bit — so that he can go someplace warm during the slow, winter season. And Tyler will take on even more responsibilities.
Meanwhile, there is a 20th anniversary to celebrate: there will be an Open House and Customer Appreciation Day on May 14, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., to introduce a new kitchenware showroom. This takes place at their headquarters, 29 MacDonald Road in the Porter Creek industrial area.
Then, that night, there will be a Business After Hours at the same location.