Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, April 18


Updated March 14

Updated April 8

Posted April 2

Click on image


Honesty, integrity and
quality workmanship

It's 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.

One 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.

Posted 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.

What 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.

"We're just a small country shop here but we manage to do okay," states Lionel in his trademark self-depreciating manner.

A 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 goodies.

At 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.

Hanging above the office window as you walk through the front door are the shop's three rules:

RULES of this SHOP

1) In this shop... the customer is right when he's right. He is wrong when he is wrong.

2) In this shop... BRIBES, KICKBACKS and EXTORTION are not appreciated and will not be tolerated.

3) 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.

Each of the above rules was developed for a very specific reason and all the rules apply to everyone without exception.

"The 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."

As 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.

"The 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."

"Taking 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."

It's obvious that the state of the automobile insurance industry is an issue about which Laurin is very passionate.

"We're 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 are ruthless."

When 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."

Ace 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 a dime.

It's no wonder that Laurin's biggest hero is Terry Fox.

As Laurin says, "Terry Fox succeeded against all odds through perseverance, hard work and tremendous single-mindedness to help his fellow citizens."

Laurin's description of his hero could be equally applied to the man himself; a symbol of perseverance and a champion of the underdog.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



Return to top

Return to Front Page




Click on image

Click on image


Orléans Online © 2001-2012 Sherwin Publishing