Manning, a tract of land in New Minas was purchased. Surrounded by crops and apple orchards, a new garage was constructed on the docile main street in the sleepy little village of New Minas, which boasted one store and a blacksmith's shop.
It was a move that time approved of. As New Minas grew into the "Shopping Centre of the Annapolis Valley" Milne's Garage stood steadfast as a local landmark with "Grandpappy" Milne the business patriarch of the Annapolis Valley.
Initially, Milne's Garage sold International trucks and $2000 Packard cars. Then World War ll changed the world and the face of Milne's Garage. Grampy left nine children and a fledgling business to serve in the war effort as a transport officer servicing vehicles along the coastline. Gram (Ruth) Milne worked for the Red Cross and their eldest daughter, Ina (Palmer) stepped in to run the family business.
By December 1945, while war treaties were being negotiated, Milne's Garage became the Ford Motor Company's first franchise dealership selling Mercury Ford cars. The timing was perfect for a post-war boom had created a seller's market for new automobiles. In the Valley, LS Milne's unofficial mandate was legendary: "We service what we sell". It was his belief in the value of service that led to the prosperity evident in Milne's many divisions and expansions. Laurie Milne's vision extended far beyond his new car lot. Selling the vehicles and providing the fuels was simply the first step.
Milne's Garage in New Minas led to the opening of two satellite dealerships -- Milne's Garage Kingston Branch and Milne's Garage Annapolis Royal Branch -- which allowed Milne's the opportunity to service the entire Annapolis Valley. These two dealerships later became Lorne Fraser Ltd. and Don Milne Ltd.
LS Milne recognized that the needs of automobile owners were business opportunities. With his foresight Milne's Garage evolved to include:
- New Car Sales -- Ford/Mercury/Meteor/Lincoln
- Towing & Wrecking service
In 1977 LS Milne was chosen Quality Dealer of the Year by Time Magazine.
The breadth of this business provided distinguished careers for many of Grampy's children, sons-in-law and 41 grandchildren.
Growing up on a farm, LS (Laurie) Milne had an interest in gears and levers and tinkering with anything mechanical, which naturally evolved into an interest in autos as the age of automobiles came of age.
In his late teens Laurie was hired by Halifax businessman Fred C Manning to assemble Model T Fords. Shortly thereafter, he married Ruth Green of Dartmouth and they moved to the Annapolis Valley.as he took over the service managers position at Annapolis Valley Motors.
In 1929, with 5 children at home, Grampy Milne posted his mechanics license and opened his own automotive repair shop on Church Street in Kentville.
Ten years and one Great Depression later, and contrary to the times, Grampy Milne was ready to expand his business. With the support of FC
Laurie Milne remained at the helm of Milne's Garage until he passed away in 1989 at 86 years of age.