Automotive aftermarket business owners are known for their commitment to the communities they serve. Some might feel that these initiatives might have to fall exclusively on their shoulders. Not so, as is the case with Eccles Auto Service in Dundas, Ont.
The well-known shop has found a great way to connect with the local community and give seniors a chance to remember their sweet rides of the past; and it’s an initiative spawned from the dedicated team, not the owner’s office.
According to Eccles technician Dave Jaggard, the event was conceived about 12 years ago when his sister, who is a local senior home’s recreational director, mentioned that there were always lots of activities and outings for the ladies, but almost nothing for the men.
So the idea for an annual “Guys’ Night Out” got its start, inviting men from the nearby Regina Gardens seniors home to check out cars from their own era, try out tools, and see some of the amazing things that today’s cars can do, all while enjoying a barbecue and socializing among friends.
“We decided to put together a Guys’ Night Out. We set up a barbecue, rearranged the shop so you could move around it easily in a wheelchair, and got in some old cars from the ’50s and ’60s, which the guys would be familiar with. We also put up a modern-day car on the hoist so they could look under it, and put out tools like wrenches that they could touch and try out.”
The first event was such a success that they’ve repeated it every year since.
Some of the seniors who attend may have worked on their own cars when they were young, says Jaggard, but the event is really geared towards everyone who ever owned a car. Seeing cars that were familiar to them in younger days is great for stimulating memory, but it’s mainly designed just to be a fun and interesting break from their usual lives.
It’s a perfect example of how to connect with the local community in an original, and truly useful way. It’s not even that expensive to mount, Jaggard notes: the shop covers the cost of food and bringing in a few cars, but the home takes care of transportation and any special needs, such as a specialized diet. And the fact that the inspiration came from Dave’s sister suggests that great ideas for community outreach can be found simply by asking your staff to canvass their families and friends to find out where there may be a need.
Since its inception, Guys’ Night Out is getting more popular every year. “It used to be about six to eight guys on average, but the last few years we’ve had an average of 10 to 11.” A number of the seniors have attended year after year, and Dave enjoys seeing familiar faces again, as do the attendees themselves.
“Everyone loves it,” Jaggard laughs. “You’ve just gotta see how their faces light up when they get here.”
That’s an amazing idea. Good on you guys !!!