Grande-Rivière Garage: Claude LeBlanc’s legacy carried on by new owner Jusin Fortin
The Grande-Rivière garage will be reopening on September 6, after the owner for the past 37 years, Claude LeBlanc, passed away earlier this year. Justin Fortin, who has worked at the garage for 16 years as a mechanic and manager, will be taking over as the new owner. Fortin says that, when the business reopens in just under two weeks, he plans to continue to offer the same quality service and to keep the same community spirit that Claude was known for by many in Aylmer.
Sylvie LeBlanc, Claude LeBlanc’s sister, said it was a major shock for both her family and the Aylmer community when Claude suddenly passed away on March 20. During the 37 years that Claude was the owner of the garage, he became well known and much admired by residents for the quality of service he offered as a mechanic and for his connection to the community. Having regularly mentored auto-mechanic interns from Grande-Rivière and D’Arcy McGee high schools, as well as offering the garage’s parking lot and free electricity for community events on Rue Principale, his garage became an important part of the Aylmer community.
Fortin hopes to walk in Claude’s footsteps and to continue to offer the same service that Claude was known for. When asked about how he feels about stepping in as the new owner of the garage, Fortin said that he is excited to carry on Claude’s legacy, “I feel excited to be the new owner and I’m looking forward to reopening. I’m excited to offer the same kind of quality service that Claude liked to give.”
After working closely with Claude for many years, Fortin became like another member of the LeBlanc family. “Justin was really like a son to Claude,” said Sylvie LeBlanc. “Our family is really proud of Justin; he is like one of ours.” She further emphasized that even though the garage is changing owners, she is confident that reopening under Fortin’s ownership will be both a continuation of what was there before and a positive step forward for the business, “I’m sure people are going to be happy to know that Justin will be taking over and Claude would be very proud to know that he followed in his footsteps.”
The Grande-Rivière garage is located in the heart of Old Aylmer at 131, rue Principale. It will be reopening on September 6 and customers can make appointments starting on September 2. To book an appointment, call 819-684-8333.
Photo caption: New owner of the Grande-Rivière garage Justin Fortin (second from left) with Sylvie LeBlanc (left) alongside friends and family. Photo credit: Greg Newing.