In 2006 Chris Craig decided to open his own business: RCL Automotive at 236 Lombard St. 613-284-2422. Chris knew he had a lot of work ahead to try and make his business one that customers would feel like they were treated honestly and fair. RCL having a double meaning standing for Roslyn, Chris & Leigh as well Reliable, Courteous & Loyal Service.
While doing his apprenticeship in the small town of Almonte, one of his co-workers would always say “Always treat a customer the way you would want to be treated”. During his career this saying has always been forefront in his mind. His goal in his business model is to always treat each customer as they are family.
In 1997 Chris started working in Smiths Falls at Edgetown Motors Garage where he was able to meet and gain new customers through the unbelievable Hinton Family. Chris was fortunate enough to learn a lot about business from Grant Hinton.
Chris opened RCL Automotive Aug 2006 in a 2 Bay shop with one lift doing general repairs by himself. His wife doing office work on weekends while working full-time in insurance, as well as having 2 1/2-year-old girl at home. It was a very busy time in his life having a wife, little girl and a home to take care of and not knowing if this new adventure was going to thrive or even survive.
During the first year of opening, business was steadily increasing and he decided that an employee was needed to keep up with the day to day increase of customers. As well a second lift and a custom exhaust pipe bender was added to the garage. Business kept on building to the point that Leigh made a decision late 2007 to leave her full time job to work part- time at the shop as well as part- time at Hintons Pontiac in Perth.
In Spring of 2013 Chris took over the 4 bays at the 236 Lombard St location and added an alignment machine and lift. Ernie Ferguson, who once owned his own garage locally for many years, started with RCL the Fall of 2012 and has been with Chris ever since. With another employee, paperwork & office duties increasing Leigh and Chris decided that her full-time presence was necessary. The decision was made, she left her other part-time job from the Smiths Falls Curling Club to work full- time in the Fall 2013. With the business continuously growing another decision was made in the Fall of 2014. Shane Findlay, a 4th year apprentice was added to the team. In the spring of 2017, Shane received his mechanic license and received a job much closer to home. Simon (Slim) Wallace, a second year apprentice, joined our team. Slim is a local Lombardy boy and is enjoying his new spot with us. So it’s been great being able to keep all the fellow’s around.
In June 2015 Chris was contacted about becoming an affiliated tire company with Tire Discounter Group out of Orangeville, also a family owned and operated company. Signing as an affiliated store required another experienced employee to be brought on board to look after tire sales, Pat Ruest who had 5 years of tire sales and service, joined the team!
When Chris ponders the last 10 years his statement is summed up as “I cannot believe that it’s been such a success, all I wanted is to make sure that my customers are treated with respect and fairness.” With this success its been truly rewarding that we have been able to give back to our Community via supporting The Smiths Falls Community Food Bank, The Gerry Lowe Memorial Rink, Smiths Falls Civitan Club, Lombardy Karting and Lombardy Agricultural Society to name some of the larger ones. We hope to be able to continue with this support during the next 10 years.
Chris and all of his staff would like to thank all of his valued customers for their support over the last 10 years. We look forward to serving our customers for many more years to come.
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We’re proud to serve Smiths Falls, ON, Perth, ON, Merrickville, ON, and surrounding areas.
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