Walt Morris founder of The Morris Group of Companies is a native of Stratford, Ontario. Walt’s story is built upon humble beginnings as he relied on a strong work ethic and the values that he was taught by his parents and during his time as a hockey player for much of his success. Hockey was a big part of Walt’s upbringing, teaching him the importance of working as a team, loyalty, and commitment. He was the Captain of the Stratford Cullitons Junior Hockey team, leading the team in 1986 to win the All-Ontario Cup. After this triumph, Walt hung up his skates and started his career in the auto industry selling vehicles at a Mazda dealership in Guelph Ontario at 22 years old. He worked hard, learning all the different areas of a dealership with the end goal of one day owning a dealership of his own. This is where The Morris Group of Companies’ story began.
In 1993, Walt moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba with the vision of creating a name for himself in the auto industry. Walt’s passion for the industry led him to 7 successful years as General Sales Manager at a local General Motors dealership. Walt then moved on becoming Vice President and General Manager of a Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealer. Both stores were consecutively number one every year. Walt’s focus on providing a great customer experience and for finding customers the best deals with ‘Walt Approved Pricing’ quickly earned him a positive reputation.
His rapid ascent continued in 2005 when he partnered with an automotive group to buy into a different Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealership. Under Walt’s leadership, it rose quickly to be number 1 in retail sales on the Prairies for 12 consecutive years. Walt attributes this achievement to the team of individuals employed within the dealership. Walt’s focus has always been to build a unified team and together exceed the expectations of customers by providing them with a simple and honest experience both in sales and service.
In 2017 Walt sold his part of ownership at the Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealership. This gave Walt the opportunity to fulfil his younger vision of solely owning his own automotive dealership. Walt acquired Kenora Chevrolet Buick GMC, Kenora Honda and Walt Morris Pre-Owned Supercenter. In 2018 Walt opened the doors to new franchises Maserati of Winnipeg, Alfa Romeo of Winnipeg and in 2020 Winnipeg Vehicle Finance and Leasing. The Morris Group of Companies also consists of non-automotive companies including Exclusive Bus Lines, Exclusive Car & Truck Wash, Headingley West Storage and Headingley West U-Haul Truck and Trailer Franchise.
With support from family and his wife Cassandra, Walt has continued to grow Morris Group of Companies to what it is today. Walt is proud to have accomplished what he has in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario and looks forward to the future and continued growth of the Morris Group of Companies as it expands its footprint across Canada.
Throughout his successes in business, Walt has always found ways in which he has been able to share that success by giving back to the community. The Morris Group Foundation was established to streamline this effort group-wide and enable the Morris Group companies to actively invest in every community they serve.
Walt attributes much of the success of Morris Group of Companies to the team of 150 talented people that are employed within the organization. Walt’s philosophy of “First take great care of your employees; then they will take great care of your customers” and a “Always Promote from Within” mindset, ensures there is great opportunity for employee growth and advancement.
Walt was a finalist in the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year program. He was one of the 50 finalists chosen from across Canada for his entrepreneurial success. Walt is a trailblazer to many in his industries, but when asked what inspires him, the answer is simple.
“I would tell you it’s my parents, Gail and David Morris. They are the epitome of hard-working, with a never-give-up attitude. They taught my brother and I about respect, always treating people with kindness, and that integrity is everything.”
Walt works to represent those childhood values every day. He prides himself on being the same guy at work as he is at home. His appreciation for what he has built is obvious, but it is a direct result of the humble beginnings that built him.