The current and former Parr partners along with their PPG Team. From left to right, Brayden Neufeld, Chelsea Stebner, Shane Desrosiers, Don Pogoda (former employee and Partner), Tom Bissonnette, Paul Carroburg (former employee; now PPG territory manager for British Columbia) Front Row: Don Swick (former employee, now PPG’s National Account Manager—also known as “The Don Father”).
For Parr Auto Body, community comes first
Story by ALLISON ROGERS
Parr Auto Body touts quite the reputation in Saskatoon. The facility opened its doors in 1952 under the leadership of Ken Scissons, who named the business after a nearby golf course.
Seventy years down the production line, the business continues to thrive under the leadership of Chelsea Stebner, Brayden Neufeld, David Sather and Shane Desrosiers. The company has formed longstanding and loyal relationships within its own team, the Saskatoon community and beyond. An anniversary like this is nothing to scoff at—particularly for an independent facility. Most would expect the Parr team to throw a celebratory bash, fit with all the trimmings, but that’s not really the collision centre’s style.
After all, success is that much sweeter when shared with your friends and family. The idea of community is rooted in the business’s founding values; it’s a mindset that’s been carried through the company’s 70-year history.
Stebner and the current leadership team credit much of Parr’s success to Tom Bissonnette, the director of the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers and longtime owner of the business. Frequent readers of Collision Repair will know of his time with the business well—he’s spent the last year writing columns on his trials and successes in the collision repair realm. While Bissonnette passed many nuggets of knowledge to the present team, Stebner says the fearless leader always ensured they understood the importance of giving back to its community.
“My parents were always actively volunteering when I was a kid, so I’ve always been raised on the idea of philanthropy,” she said. “Tom is more of a quiet philanthropist— he’s always said, ‘let’s spend donation dollars instead of advertising dollars.” “If you don’t understand our business values, you probably won’t mesh with the team,” admits Stebner.
Each year, Parr takes half of its donation budget and gives a lump sum to a local cause. The rest of the funds are committed to a cause chosen by the collision centre’s team.
“We always donate to a cause that means something to our team. This year felt different, though. It didn’t feel right to host a big party after all we’d been through during the pandemic.”
When it comes to selecting a cause for annual fundraising efforts, the whole Parr team puts their heads together.
“We want to make sure the team feels connected with what we’re supporting. The Parr Auto Body family has a personal connection to youth mental health, so it’s very special we’re able to support the Dube Centre this year.”
The facility is well-versed in community contributions: the team has supported several local sports programs, homeless shelters, food banks and the Ronald McDonald House and more via other charitable partnerships.
“We’ve taken part in a lot of different initiatives. Ronald McDonald House—we love helping out there whenever we can. We also volunteer with the Sherbrooke Community Centre, a long-term care home in our community.”
The team also makes a point to celebrate its own successes accordingly. The team hosts frequent BBQs in the summer and baked goods are often traded in the break room.
“We’ve also done partnerships with local businesses, in the past.”
As the facility steps into its seventy-first year of operation, Stebner says she has no doubt they’ll continue to hold the same values tight.
“Community is engrained in our values— always has been, and always will be. It’s what makes Parr Auto Body the facility we love to call our workplace.”