Leo Oren, owner of West RightWay Vehicle Specialist in Creston, poses in the shop. (Photo by Jeff Banman)

Leo Oren, owner of West RightWay Vehicle Specialist in Creston, poses in the shop. (Photo by Jeff Banman)

New owner of Creston auto shop keeps business going

Leo Oren of West RightWay Vehicle Specialist has kept the wheels turning with support from Columbia Basin Trust

Submitted by Columbia Basin Trust

“When you’re doing what you like to do, you don’t really consider it hard work,” said Leo Oren. In his case, he spends long days in his auto repair shop – West RightWay Vehicle Specialist in Creston – fixing and preventing mechanical problems.

“I love the community here, and I love the area. I love what I do.”

Originally from Israel, Oren came to Canada about 12 years ago. He spent time in a few locations, including Kelowna, but his hope was to settle into a small town and buy property. After looking around, he saw opportunity in Creston with a commercial garage listed for sale. The owner, who had already run the business for a few decades, was retiring.

Getting financing, however, was another issue. After several hitches trying to obtain a loan from banks, Oren approached the Columbia Basin Trust to support him in the purchase and start-up costs of his new business.

“At the end of the day, it was Columbia Basin Trust that came through,” Oren said, referring to the Investments program, which offers loans to businesses, non-profits, and social enterprises based in the region.

Now, Oren’s garage has been serving the Creston community for over two and a half years. During that time, he has worked on over 1,000 vehicles for about 700 customers. The pandemic halted business for a brief moment, but then it restarted pretty much as normal.

“Things are going well,” he said. “Automotive is something that everyone needs, regardless of a pandemic or not.”

To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

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