UXBRIDGE: After 40 years in the auto sales industry, selling vehicles at Willamson GM Uxbridge, Brian Norrish is retiring, and excited to continue a lifelong passion of his and give back to the community that has supported him throughout the years.
After finishing high school in Uxbridge, Brian started out selling steel barns in the early 1970’s. When the recession of 1973 happened, the company Brian was working for went bankrupt, which led to Brian earning his real estate license and selling homes for a living.
Brian did not particularly enjoy selling homes, and during a trip to Stouffville, to buy his wife a used car, Brian was told that Williamson’s Uxbridge was hiring. Brian was initially looked over for more experience, but received a phone call a month later, asking whether or not he was still looking for a job selling cars.
For the first month at Williamson Uxbridge, Brian Norrish found himself working along side Alex Williamson, who he said had an enormous impact on his career, for the last 40 years, and taught him everything he knows. “I was very fortunate to have him as my teacher... I sat and listened to him sell cars for a month or so, and then he threw me out on the floor and away I went,” said Mr. Norrish. “It was a big deal for me to have Alex Williamson give me a start in the car business, it’s been my livelihood for 41 years, and he was the one who gave me the shot at it,” continued Mr. Norrish.
When asked what kept him motivated for the last 40 plus years, Brian Norrish says he simply liked cars. “I had always had nice convertibles... it just made more sense to sell cars. Mr. Norrish recalls spending hours on Friday nights talking with farmers, who would drop into the showroom to talk about the pick up trucks, while their wives were doing grocery shopping in town. It is those relationships with customers that Brian says he will miss the most. “It is very difficult for me to walk away from my customers. That is the hardest part of being retired,” said Mr. Norrish. “seeing the fourth generation of families running through the showroom, that is the kind of loyalty that is hard to walk away from,” continued Mr. Norrish.
Brian is now focusing his time and energy into another passion of his, Karate. Mr. Norrish is a 6th-degree black belt and has been practicing martial arts for the last 40 years. He teaches Shudoken Karate, Judo, and Akido locally in Port Perry, for the last 27 years. “Martial Arts is a way of life,” said Mr. Norrish, and it is that way of life that he wants to pass down to others.
Brian is going to be teaching karate and self defense to a blind man named Shawn. Shawn is going on a group trip in Paraguay and his friends reached out to Brian to see if he could create a lesson plan, specifically designed for the blind, to help Shawn feel safer during his trip, and to show others that disabilities do not limit an individual in life. Brian is looking forward to the challenge, telling The Standard, he has never done something like this before.
The Standard will be following Brian and Shawn on their journey throughout the Summer. Stay tuned to The Standard to learn about Brian and Shawn’s progress.