hard to tell which is the greater of two local legends:
Ace Body Shop, known throughout the Ottawa Valley
for top quality work and honest service; or its owner,
Lionel Laurin, widely known as a straight-talker who
champions with zeal and compassion the rights of his
clients, friends and fellow citizens.
only has to walk through the front door of the body
shop to see for themselves how well-known and well-thought
of both the business and its owner are.
on the walls of the entranceway are dozens of testimonials
submitted by customers thanking Laurin for his help
in dealing with insurance companies and accident claims
and attesting to the quality work done by the craftsmen
employed by the shop.
makes the sheer number of letters even more amazing
is the fact that 95 per cent of the shop's clientele
are either repeat customers or referrals.
just a small country shop here but we manage to do
okay," states Lionel in his trademark self-depreciating
visit to Ace Body Shop on virtually any day of the
week is an experience in itself a buzz of purposeful
activity, a constant stream of walk-in clients and
phone calls, petitioners seeking help and advice on
insurance-related and other issues, good friends and
neighbours dropping in with humourous tidbits and
the centre of all this activity as you enter Ace Body
Shop are Lionel and his partner, Theresa Laurin. Both
exude an easy manner that can come only from working
together for some 35 years serving a large repeat
clientele, many of whom are third generation customers.
above the office window as you walk through the front
door are the shop's three rules:
of this SHOP
In this shop... the customer is right when he's
right. He is wrong when he is wrong.
In this shop... BRIBES,
KICKBACKS and EXTORTION
are not appreciated and will not be tolerated.
In this shop... we afford everyone the same
courtesy that we receive. Please afford us the
time and the understanding to give you the service
and quality work you deserve.
of the above rules was developed for a very
specific reason and all the rules apply to everyone
rules are there for a reason," says Laurin. "We
know our business and we take all necessary steps
to protect the customer confidence we've built up
over the years."
the tour of the shop continues, it quickly becomes
clear that this is a place where workmanship is a
matter of intense pride. Any number of vehicles can
be found in various stages of preparation and completion
as they are moved from one of the shop's 25 bays to
another. It's like watching a well-choreographed symphony
of colour and motion. All of the work is done in-house
on Ace Body Shop's fully-equipped premises.
first thing we do with any client," explains
Laurin, "is show them around. It gives them a
chance to see for themselves how we can transform
their wrecked vehicle to its original state. Even
the parts you don't see are treated and painted."
care of people is also part and parcel of what we
do," says Laurin. "Having an accident can
be a traumatic experience. For many their car represents
a substantial investment and people can be very attached
to their vehicle. Also, in too many instances
in fact, in most cases you have insurance companies
taking advantage of people's vulnerability. You simply
wouldn't believe what we see coming through here."
obvious that the state of the automobile insurance
industry is an issue about which Laurin is very passionate.
in the business; we see what happens to good, law-abiding
folks. In this shop, we've made it our business to
help our customers fight for their rights. We have
literally hundreds of files that confirm the horrible
story consumer beware when dealing with insurance
companies. They are experts at what they do and some
asked why a busy shop like theirs would take on additional
time-consuming work when other shops don't, Laurin
confides, "I guess it goes back to my first job.
When I was four years old, I joined the bigger boys
picking potatoes for a neighbour. I worked steady
and hard but at the end of the day the bigger boys
got their dime and I got nothing. That's when I first
learned how the little guy can get exploited. I've
stood up for my rights and those of others ever since."
Body Shop is located on a hill off of Old Montreal
Road just east of Trim Road overlooking the Taylor
Creek Industrial Park and the Ottawa River. A conglomerate
of two residences and several buildings, it includes
the first house Laurin built at age 22 without borrowing
no wonder that Laurin's biggest hero is Terry Fox.
Laurin says, "Terry Fox succeeded against all
odds through perseverance, hard work and tremendous
single-mindedness to help his fellow citizens."
description of his hero could be equally applied to
the man himself; a symbol of perseverance and a champion
of the underdog.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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