Hawkesville has welcomed its first and only auto care centre, thanks to the merger of two competing owners.
Leroy Martin, owner of Leroy’s Auto Care in Elmira, and Brad Bowman, owner of Auto Fleet Services Inc. in St Clements and part owner of Thoman Tire in St. Jacobs, met through local courses. Having much in common, being in the automotive trade, the two developed a relationship over the past few years and discussed the idea of setting up shop in Hawkesville. Both have customers from the area who had to travel to get to their other locations.
“I always thought it would be nice to have some bays over here, then we could look after some customers and clients. I got talking to Leroy and he said, ‘I have some clients and customers over there also, why don’t we just work together and do something together?’ and that’s what we did,” explained Bowman of the origins of Hawkesville Auto Care Inc.
“This is a combination of both of us and we are kind of using both of our resources to pool as one. We are networking together, trying to form it that way, working together instead of against each other.”
“We have found that it has worked really well just for so many of those different resources to help each other out, instead of trying to compete,” added Martin.
Martin says that the partnership has helped them provide the best resources and parts for their auto centre, something that can be difficult for smaller operations normally.
“The advantages of networking together with buying parts and things like that is better doing it together,” said Martin. “To run a small garage like this, to service Hawkesville all on its own is really hard with where the industry is going with the amount of money that needs to be put into equipment and all that. So, to get a place like this going with its size would be pretty hard without the backing of each other. But when you pull together, it allows us to have a place here and a place in Elmira, St. Clements and all kind of different spots and work together.”
Combining resources was a key part of the equation for the co-owners, but the location was the real benefit for them. Being located behind FKS Electric, the owners say the venture fills a void for a local auto centre.
“People are looking for convenience and looking for service. So convenience is having it instead of having one big shop somewhere – it’s not always convenient. Having a shop here in Hawkesville and trying to spread them out across the region, people love the convenience. If you can service them and treat them fairly and look after them, that is what is going to draw the people here,” said Bowman. “The convenience and being able to share a network together is really what made this thing.”
Hawkesville Auto Care opened in March and has since been servicing the local community as well as many of the fleets from businesses in the area.
The two will be celebrating the new auto care centre with a grand opening party tomorrow (Friday).
“I think some people might be a little apprehensive about coming by just to do a once-through, to see what the place is like, so this is just an opportunity to come by: it’s an open house, where you can see things with no obligation,” said Bowman. “You can come in, have a bite to eat, have a look around, meet the employees, it is just here for people to see.
“We both thought that was a great idea to have people come in without having to walk in the front door and necessarily want anything, but who just want to see the place.”
The event will offer up food and door prizes for those who attend, Martin explains, and will have guest suppliers present to speak about parts as well as information on tires for those interested in the offerings.
The grand opening runs 5-7 p.m. on October 13, rain or shine.