Whitehorse Motors Limited
In 1867 when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia, the Russian American Company was purchased by the Alaska Commercial Co which was later acquired in 1922 by a group that named the company Northern Commercial Co Northern Commercial operated stores throughout Alaska and The Yukon, They were also the Caterpillar dealer and the dealer for Ford Motor Company. Discussion with Ford resulted in an agreement to give up the Ford franchise.
In 1969, Ford of Canada sent a representative to Whitehorse to find possible candidates to take over the car dealership and left without success. On the way back to Vancouver, a passenger sitting next to the Ford representative asked if he had talked to Rolf Hougen. He hadn't. Shortly thereafter a letter arrived from Ford asking if Hougen was interested in acquiring the Ford dealership for Whitehorse. The letter was put aside for some weeks as it did not appear to be an enterprise that would work well with the operations of a retail store. After further consideration, however, Rolf Hougen sent a letter expressing an interest.
Negotiations with Ford led to the appointment of Rolf Hougen as the new dealer. Subsequent negotiations with Northern Commercial to arrive at a satisfactory financial arrangement concluded the deal. By this time Rolf had acquired land from White Pass and Yukon Route at corner of Wheeler and Black Street. White Pass was moving its trucking company terminal to the industrial area. The amount of land purchased for the new Whitehorse Motors Ltd. was a city block and a half in size and had a large building on it. Construction started immediately to remodel the building and add a showroom. By November the renovations were completed and the dealership moved its Third and Main Street location. The official opening of the new business occurred on November 17th, 1969.
At the outset, Whitehorse Motors Limited had about 16 shareholders. The three principal shareholders were Rolf, with the majority of shares and overall management control, Moe Grant, who continued as general manager, and Bob Parent who continued as parts manager. Over time minority shareholders were bought out. Rolf Hougen's daughter Maureen's husband, Rick Nielsen, who began working for the dealership in 1986, bought out the remaining shareholders and acquired a substantial interest in the company.
When Rolf Hougen decided to retire from othe automobile business in the late 1990's, Rick acquired the last of Hougen's holdings in the dealership.