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
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 manner.
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.
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
of this SHOP
In this shop... the customer is right when he's right. He is wrong when he is
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
of the above rules was developed for a very specific reason and all the rules
apply to everyone without exception.
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
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
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 a dime.
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.
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