Regina, Saskatchewan — It has been 95 years since the doors of Regina Auto Body (RAB) first opened on the outskirts of the city’s downtown core. What was once a blacksmith’s shop soon transformed into a full-fledged auto body shop as more and more vehicles hit Saskatchewan’s roads. Now, almost a century later, the collision repair centre continues to serve communities in the heart of the province.
While most shops might celebrate this lengthy milestone internally, RAB decided to give back to a community it has served for generations by donating a portion of its October earnings to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“It started with tossing around the idea of having an open house to show the changes from the horse and buggy all the way to becoming a Tesla Certified Repair Facility,” explained Mike Mario, the co-owner of RAB. “Chad (another co-owner) and I started to look at the costs of putting something like that together and we heard about our neighbours down the street, Canadian Mental Health Association Regina Branch, and how it was in need of some renovations and we thought, ‘why don’t we scrap that idea and donate the money we may have spent on an open house along with our budgeted donations and do a month-long blitz using the $95 to coincide with the 95 years?’”
By taking $95 from every repair in October, Mario and his team managed to raise more than $10,000 towards replacing worn flooring in the mental health facility.
Mario explained his choice as benefactor: “We decided to donate to the Regina Branch for a few reasons,” he said. “One, they are our neighbours and have always reached out to us when they need any vehicle repairs. Two, their building is old and in need of repairs constantly. Three and most importantly, mental health has touched us in ways that we would have never imagined. When people have a broken leg or arm, it is usually fairly visual. When someone has mental health issues, there are no visual signs, but that person is hurting inside and it is difficult to cure because of the shortage of resources around.”
Mario said he does not believe executing the donation strategy was difficult, and, with the century milestone just over the horizon for the shop, he said he and his staff have already begun brainstorming more donation opportunities.
“The planning has started and we felt so good about what we accomplished with our October donation that we might even do $96 next year, and follow that up until we hit $100 in 2024,” he said. “We will likely have a big party in the shop like we did in 2013 when the Riders won the Grey Cup here in Regina! There are lots of ideas being tossed around so we are in the planning stage. Stay tuned!”
To donate to the Canadian Mental Health Association, click here.