Despite not having any experience working on cars, integrated design student Sarah Verhoeve jumped on the opportunity to start at Louie’s Car Care.

The Haliburton School of Art + Design student joined the auto detailing shop in December and plans to renovate the business situated at the former home of Stan’s Garage on County Road 118.

She said she hopes to use her design skills to bring a fresh look to the shop, harkening back to a 1950s vibe with a waiting room more open to “gab.”

“It would be cool if we could turn this into a new place to hang out when you get your car detailed,” Verhoeve said. “I want to start bringing in vintage car posters and neon signs.”

The garage has changed since it moved into the new spot two years ago, adding more services, according to owner Louis Lauricella. He said Verhoeve has picked up the trade fast.

“I’ve been teaching her all the stuff I know. She does amazing work,” he said.

Verhoeve said she has done a lot of different jobs in her career – from horse farming to greenhouse supervising – and is a hairstylist by trade. But in the auto shop, she saw a chance to apply the skills she is learning in school – and gain some new ones.

“I’m that type of person that wants to try every job I can,” she said. “I saw an opportunity to learn new skills. It might be something I could do full time.”

The pandemic is impacting the business, but Lauricella said it is positive. Although they are working within COVID restrictions, the business is staying busy, versus last year when they shut down for the winter due to a lack of customers.

“It’s been bringing us more business than ever because people want their cars all clean. After we clean their cars, we sanitize,” Lauricella said.

The pair said they hope to complete their renovations and give the shop a new look by the end of the year.

“We want it to be like Louie’s shop instead of Stan’s Garage,” Verhoeve said. “A new landmark and an easier flowing business.”

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