Father’s Day has a special meaning for Eastside Auto Service owner Glenn Colling. It was his father Merv who helped to establish the 47-year-old auto repair shop on Chartwell Road in Oakville, Ontario.
Reminiscing about rainy days spent at home in the garage as a child bring back memories of flipping through Hot Rod magazine with his brother while cutting and pasting pictures of their favourite stock and racing cars. Glenn knows that his love of cars came from hanging out with his dad in the garage.
Glenn was always welcome to accompany his dad at work to help around the shop. He loved the smells, the activity: the whole atmosphere. He and his brother spent a lot of time at the shop puttering and building things. He would even visit on PD days to help wash windows and clean the bays.
Glenn and Merv have always been able to work together. Perhaps it’s because of their shared interest in things automotive, but more importantly, it’s the mutual respect and admiration they show to one another.
Glenn wasn’t always certain of a future in automotive. Glenn’s other passion was farming. As a boy he spent a lot of time on his uncle’s beef cattle farm in St. Mary’s and he loved it. He seriously considered a future in farming, but was encouraged to pursue a post-secondary education.
His father Merv was in a similar situation as a young man. Born and raised on a 100-acre farm north of Burlington, Merv assumed that he would take over the farm from his father one day. His father advised that he should also learn a trade: something else to fall back on. As he was also mechanically inclined, Merv decided to become a mechanic.
Both father and son chose similar paths in life, and both were influenced by their father’s words of advice.
Another great piece of advice: Hire people with skills that you lack, put them in a job that they love and give them the support that they need to succeed. Both Merv and Glenn recognize that you can’t do everything yourself, and are quick to acknowledge that their staff are the single biggest reason why the shop has grown and prospered these past 47 years.
When Glenn took over the reins in 2012, Merv didn’t give him any one special piece of advice. Instead he gave him a strong set of values and demonstrated it to Glenn and the team at Eastside every day of the year.
He was taught to be fair, and to treat people how you want to be treated. Glenn and his dad both love building relationships with their customers and have learned that when you gain their respect, you earn their trust.
Happy Father’s Day!