Out with the old in with the new: long-time local business changes hands

One of Lake Cowichan’s longest running and most successful businesses, has been sold.

Rod Tipton

Rod Tipton

It’s official, after 44 years of continual service, Tipton’s Outboards — one of Lake Cowichan’s longest running and most successful businesses, has been sold.

According to Walt Tipton, spokesman and founder of the marine business, the sale took place a few weeks ago.

New owners Tyler and Aldea Maslak, and family will move to the area within the next few weeks. “I plan to continue providing the best service possible and hope to build on Rod and Walt’s good reputation [that they] built up over the years,” said Maslak during a recent interview.

His last place of employment was with Sherwood Marine Centre in Victoria.  A journeyman outboard mechanic with 15-years experience behind him, Maslak plans to continue to service all makes and models of outboard motors and eventually carry different makes and models of boat motors.

The shop will still carry boat accessories and service items. Although now operating under new management, the new owners will continue to use the high profile Tipton name.

Tipton and his (late) wife Mavis started the business in 1968, with Walt operating out of a shop in the basement of the family home. His son Rod remembers his dad spending nearly all his time working in the shop, “He never watched TV at all, he spent all of his time in the basement [shop] fixing boat motors.”

In 1975 the Tipton’s built a new sales and service shop and a gas bar on property they purchased on North Shore Road. They opened the new business January 1976. Walt spent the next dozen years working the business along with his two sons, Wayne and Rod, who helped get the new business started.

Over the years Tipton’s Outboard excelled in the business world garnering the top spot in BC for sales of Evinrude boat motors, Road Runner trailers and Hourston Glass Craft boats in 1976. For many years the business also won the Master Mariner’s Award for excellence in marine sales and service.

In 1979 Walt sold the outboard business to the Smith Brothers who operated it until 1986 when Rod Tipton took it over. Over time the Tipton’s have employed many good mechanics and staff and during good times, “when sales were big,” they had a dozen employees working at once.

Walt Tipton attributes his original opening of the business to his son Rod, who as a youngster and later as a young adult captured both the boys and men’s Canadian Water Ski Championships.  Walt also expressed his deep appreciation to past-staff, customers, family and friends “for helping to keep the name Tipton’s, on the business,” and for the years of support from within the community.

The Tipton’s give high praise to 26-year employee Mark Johnson for his expert mechanical service over the years. “With Rod wanting to retire, we thought about just closing the shop down as it’s hard to get a good proprietor,” said Walt recently.  But that all changed when Maslak expressed an interest in buying the business.

After spending many decades in Lake Cowichan, six years ago Walt and Mavis moved to Crofton. More recently Walt took up residence in Duncan but his roots, at least, seem to be firmly planted here in Lake Cowichan.

Meanwhile Rod looks forward to retirement while the new owners begin a new and exciting chapter in their lives, making a go in one of Lake Cowichan longest operating business.