I don’t know about you, but when I enter a business I’m often aware of knowing just the present, just what I see before me.

It’s kind of like that at the Blue & Gold automotive retail mecca being created by Ed and Gail Regan in Angus. Called Angus Autopro, this auto repair centre is a new venture for the Regans and they’re bringing such excellence to what they do that the Autopro folks have just named them “Dealership of the Year.”

Gail was breathless Wednesday night after going through the experience of having a corporate video made on the premises by the Autopro people, in preparation for presentation of their award later this month in Niagara Falls.

It takes a long time to make even five minutes of video and Gail and Ed decided they prefer being behind the counter and, under the hoosd of vehicles and on the inventory floor of their sparkling enterprise on Mill St. But a day of fame can be fun, too.

For this couple (high school sweethearts 11 years ago) having their own auto repair shop is a dream come true. And it’s a perfect blend of their individual skills and backgrounds. The down side of a “mom and pop” operation is that “mom and pop” are both at the office, burning the candle at both ends as they handle the rapid growth their dealership is experiencing. Hiring new mechanics, rewarding and encouraging their great staff, publicizing themselves and benefitting the community at the same time... performing service work, diagnostic tests, planning advertising campaigns, handling the record-keeping, customer service initiatives, computerization of accounts receivable and payable, organizing the office, maintaining a superb employee area complete with showers and lunch facility.

Behind what Gail and Ed present as effortless customer service are individual backgrounds in excellence and this pair are using it all in their new venture.

Gail’s background is immersed in organization and customer service. She’s efficient and practical and is applying her office management knowledge to Ed’s background in cars. “I’m learning quickly which questions to ask when a customer calls in to book a vehicle for repair,” says Gail as she grilled me on make, model, cylinder numbers, mileage prior to a recent service call. And a visit to Angus Autopro proves Gail’s expertise at keeping things absolutely beautiful. This is no ordinary garage!

Hubby Ed, more affectionately known as Junior, is the “under the hood” talent of the duo, and it comes not only with a mechanic’s background, but it’s built on Junior’s zeal for cars.

He came to automotive repair later in life, starting out behind the wheel at just about every race track you can imagine... oval track, cascar, late model, challenger... Cayuga, Barrie Speedway, Calgary, Ottawa, the United States. Basically Ed has raced just about every kind of car on every kind of track, just short of Formula 1.

He earned himself top marks as he sped his way up the ranks, first as a 16 year old driver. But his absolute career pinnacle was in the cascar racing circuit when he placed fourth nationally as well as winning awards for most laps run. His big sponsor has always been Centennial Plymouth Chrysler.

So what makes a young guy in the upward swing of his career hang up his helmet?

Family.

A dangerous sport when you have three little kids, a great life partner and the chance to start your own business.

And you can bet while the outside edges of Ed’s heart are behind the wheel and on the rims of incredible power, he’s using his brain and his ingenuity to get peak performance from the vehicles of his customers.

It’s a nice blend in a business... top flight organizational and management skills, and a guy who loves cars and knows them inside out!

Thanks, Gail. Thanks, Junior.

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