Hard Work Makes a Successful Garage

It has been seven years since red seal mechanic Tom Patry bought Grizzly Auto. Tom had worked at the shop previously before spending a winter as the resident cat mechanic at Mustang Powder. 

“Mustang Powder was a fun place,” he says. “It’s great for young people, but I have two small kids and the back and forth was hard on my family relationships.”

In fact, the prospect of working away again almost tempted Tom and his wife Lisa to back to Ontario, from where they originally hailed.

“We actually went to Ontario and were looking at houses,” Tom says. “It was that close.”

When they returned to Revelstoke to decide, they knew they didn’t want to leave. It was here, in this community, that Tom and Lisa wanted to raise their kids and make their life.

“We chose to stay and commit to Revelstoke and figure out the hard part – jobs. Good jobs in town are tough to get. Grizzly Auto had been for sale, and if I were to buy it I could live in town, see more of my family, and grow the business,” says Tom.

When it came to getting a loan, Tom and Lisa never considered going anywhere other than Community Futures

“I previously owned and ran a business in Calgary that serviced highway trucks, so I felt confident in my ability to run a shop and create a business plan. The folks at Community Futures helped make it the best it could be, and then I was given a purchase loan,” Tom explains. “It feels good to have a personal connection rather than just a bank loan. Community Futures cares about the businesses they support even after they have received and paid off the loans.”

Having the support of Community Futures was important to the Patrys. The recession had just hit and banks were cracking down on loan requirements.

“Being able to buy Grizzly Auto gave me the opportunity to be a part of the community,” says Tom. He is a well-known local volunteer and sponsor for his children’s various sports teams. He also volunteers as a groomer with the Nordic club, and billets both players from the local Grizzly hockey team and a talented gymnast who is here to train with the local team, the Acrobats.

Grizzly Auto has five full time staff. Tom likes to hire high school students part time, where they work on apprenticeships and end up with practical skills that they can use throughout their own lives and careers.

Community Futures may have given Tom the loan, but it is his business savvy and hard earned reputation that has kept Grizzly Auto a busy and successful endeavour.