Ottawa, Ontario — After decades of hard work and long hours, Romeo and Genuia Donatucci feel now is the time to retire as owners of Romeo’s Garage and Bodyshop and welcome in a new generation.
Since 1970, the couple has been repairing cars for over 50 years and they will tell you it’s not easy retiring after providing an essential service for a community over the course of so many years.
“My whole life I spent here,” said Romeo. “You treat them right and they respect you. It’s been a pleasure.”
The couple has helped countless families stay safe on the road and as news of their retirement spread across town, dozens of cars slowly rolled down the street, honking their horns and cheering out the window to show their love and appreciation for the couple and their business.
Romeo and his wife immigrated to Canada in 1964 and opened Romeo’s Garage and Bodyshop in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood.
“I do the painting; the bodywork; the mechanical work,” said Romeo. “As long as you can dedicate yourself, you can do it.”
The long hours and working every day, Romeo can admit, was not always easy, however, Romeo had his wife by his side almost every day for 48 years, helping where she could, making means and raising their two children.
It is a family-run business through and through. You can see the passion the couple had for the business and did their best to portray that to their customers.
Flavio Pollarolo has known the couple since he was 15 years old when his father started bringing cars to the Donatucci’s garage. And when he was 16, Pollarolo got his own car and ultimately Pollarolo quickly went from customer to friend.
He is a second-generation customer and now his own son brings his car to the Donatucci garage as well.
“I have a couple of collector cars and guess who works on them.” said an emotional Pollarolo, adding that he would just stop by to chat. “Good luck; good life; You worked hard and you deserve a long and happy life.”
The daughter of the couple, Angela Donatucci, said she knows it’s time for her parents to say goodbye to the business they ran for five decades.
“Closing and not seeing Romeo’s sign up there, it’s a bit tough,” said Angela. “They gave me a life that I would never be able to dream about and they gave my son a life as well too.”
At the goodbye celebration for the couple, the train of cars goes by honking and Romeo and Genuia know they could never have had done this without a community that cared.
As the two start their new journey after saying goodbye to their picture-perfect career. Romeo, tearful, had a message for his customer and the community.
“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I’ll miss you all, thank you for being loyal to me.”