Business Buzz: Family garage celebrates 50 years of independence

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There’s few folks more prized than a reliable, trustworthy auto mechanic.

The Witlox family business has thrived for 50 years by striving to meet that standard for their customers.

Witlox Automotive was established in 1967 and has grown steadily from two service bays fronted by a Texaco gas station to an eight-bay independent repair garage on Wellington Road near Commissioners Road.

The business was founded by John Witlox, who took over a service station on Hamilton Road near Tennyson Street.

About 15 years later, the business moved to another Texaco station at Adelaide and Victoria Streets, now the site of the Goodwill Bookstore.

The business moved to its current location around 1999 and has grown to 11 employees, who handle all kind of auto repairs.

The shop has also helped to train co-op students for decades.

Mark Witlox has taken over from his father, but John, now 76, still stops by the shop regularly.

Mark said treating customers right has been the key to competing with the big auto service chains, and part of that has been based on the Christian values of his father and his mother Eileen, who passed away a few years ago.

“It was the way we were brought up, and it rings through the way we deal with people. My father has a heart of gold,” said Witlox.

Witlox said many customers feel like they are at the mercy of their repair shop because they have no idea what’s going on under the hood.

“We work so hard at setting ourselves apart, ensuring people are comfortable with the repairs and informing them what is going on,” said Witlox.

Wedding biz plays matchmaker

We’re Weddings ( is a new London business that works something like a dating site, matching up couples with all of the vendors in the wedding business.

We’re Weddings was co-founded by Derek Lamoureux, a 22-year-old Fanshawe College graduate, and Mitch Bennett, 21, a Western University student.

Instead of a couple searching for vendors, We’re Weddings simplifies the process by finding all the vendors the couple needs based on factors they chose such as date, price, location and style.

Realtors trek for shelters

Three London realtors have journeyed a long way to raise a lot of money for Anova (formerly Women’s Community House).

In July, 86 Royal LePage realtors from across Canada journeyed to Iceland’s Southern Highlands to raise money for women’s shelters. That group included Kelley McIntyre, Jeff Nethercott and Lindsay Reid, members of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors.

They trekked for nearly 100 kilometres and hiked for six days through difficult terrain and camped at night, although there was only two to three hours of true darkness.

Collectively, the Royal LePage group raised nearly $650,000 nationwide for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The London contingent raised more than $21,000.

Cafe fits neighbourhood

Wally’s Coffee has a new name to match its neighbourhood, renaming itself last month as Cafe Soho.

The cafe is just inside the door of the office-commercial building at 111 Waterloo St. in the district south of downtown. The Rains family took over the cafe in the spring of 2015 and did extensive renovations.

The shop is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It serves fair trade, locally roasted coffee by Patrick’s Bean as well as baked goods, lunch items and breakfast sandwiches. Daily specials are posted at Parking is free.

Bank, church help pollinators

With some help from TD Bank, St. George’s Presbyterian Church at 1475 Dundas St. has planted a pollinators garden.

The garden is designed to attract and provide a safe place for birds and pollinators. It was made possible in part through a grant from TD Friends of the Environment.

An official opening will be held on Sept. 23 from 2-4 p.m. and will be attended by local officials.

Realtors support students

The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors has announced a total of $6,000 has been awarded to four outstanding students.

The $1,500 bursaries recognize university- or college-bound students who are the children or grandchildren of LSTAR members.

The 2017 recipients are:

• Felicidy Hocking, granddaughter of Cathy Swan: A graduate of Catholic Central high school, Hocking is enrolled in the childhood and social institutions program at King’s University College.

• Jack Peifer-Dawson, son of Tracy Peifer: A graduate of Sir Wilfrid Laurier secondary school, Peifer-Dawson will study mechanical engineering at the University of Waterloo.

• Natalia Pineda, daughter of Sandra Pineda: A graduate of St. Andre Bessette Catholic secondary school, Pineda is pursuing international relations with a major in French at Western.

• Chi-en (Amy) Tai, daughter of Su-chen Chang: A graduate of London Central secondary school, Tai plans to study management engineering at the University of Waterloo.

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