OLDS – Engaged couple Glen Aubin and Nicole Rhyason opened Aubin’s Auto Aid in Olds in October 2019. The small business was just eight months into its operations when COVID-19 changed everything.
“We wanted to open our own business so we could spend more time with our large family while providing those in our community with affordable general maintenance at any time of the day,” says Rhyason.
“COVID has affected our business drastically as we have only recently opened. We got hit with the Christmas slump and as soon as we started to recover from that, we had to close our doors again (due to the pandemic). Eventually we started taking appointments after putting many precautions in place.”
The new precautions they have implemented are "absolutely no physical contact between the customers and our employees. The customer drops the vehicle off physically inside our shop, our technician takes it from there while wearing a mask and gloves. After work is done, the vehicle’s interior and exterior that were touched get wiped down, including the keys. The customer is contacted and brought back inside the shop to their vehicle, which they drive out. Payment is done electronically, or on our debit machine, and receipts are emailed.”
Being newly opened excluded Aubin’s Auto Aid from government support, but Aubin and Rhyason were pleased to witness how the trying times brought the community together.
“The people in our community look out for one another and support local. We are definitely here for one another. Our customers have been our greatest support. During our COVID-19 special, customers were encouraged to bring in an additional food bank donation that our company would match. This yielded 210 pounds of food and $50 cash, giving us an opportunity to give back to our community during the pandemic.”
Nerissa McNaughton is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Great West Newspapers. This story was funded by the Facebook Journalism Project Supporting Local News Coverage of COVID-19 Program via the Local Media Foundation.