Elly Ruge grew up in the automotive world and she’s definitely firing on all cylinders these days as the owner of Cowichan Auto Repair. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Cowichan Auto Repair brings home Vancouver Island Business Excellence Award

Elly Ruge grew up in the automotive world and she’s definitely firing on all cylinders

Elly Ruge grew up in the automotive world and she’s definitely firing on all cylinders these days as the owner of Cowichan Auto Repair.

The latest honour for Ruge and her team at Cowichan Auto Repair came when her Duncan business earned top spot in the automotive category at the 19th Annual Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards held in Nanaimo.

Grant Thornton LLP is the Title Sponsor of the Awards, RBC Royal Bank is a Gold Sponsor and Black Press was a Platinum Medium Sponsor of the awards put on by the Business Examiner.

“My dad had an auto business in Paris, Ontario and I’ve been around cars all my life,” explains Ruge, who has been operating Cowichan Auto Repair for almost three years.

Ruge, who won the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Black Tie Award for Customer Service in 2017, was heavily involved in racing and navigating in international competitions and it was during this time that the concept for Cowichan Auto Repair began to form.

“It was in international rallies in other countries that I observed how they maintain their cars and when I opened here it was because of my background in racing and what I had learned.”

Along the way she began to realize there was a niche that wasn’t being served — an auto repair business that would cater to women.

Part of what has set Cowichan Auto Repair apart from the competition are Ruge’s Women & Wheels Workshops that have been well-attended by women eager to learn more about what their vehicles are all about.

“It’s designed to educate, enlighten and empower women,” says Ruge who has shared her knowledge with dozens of women including some young Girl Guides who were keen to learn more about a subject they knew nothing about.

“We teach them about basic things like tire pressure, oil changes and maintenance.”

Cowichan Auto Repair has eight employees at its Chaster Road location just off the Trans Canada Highway in an area that has become something of an automotive hub. Dancia Motors and Kal Tire are located nearby.

Mazzei Electric of Nanaimo and Victoria was named Business of the Year for over 50 employees at the Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. There were 85 finalists for the annual celebration of the best of the best in Island business, and 17 different categories.

“Every year there are some amazing success stories that are told at this event,” notes Mark MacDonald of Business Examiner, which coordinates the event.

Category winners are:

• Automotive: Cowichan Auto Repair of Duncan

• Brewery: Twin City Brewing of Port Alberni

• Construction/Development/Real Estate: Tectonica of Nanaimo

• Entrepreneur: McTavish Academy of Art of Saanich

• Food & Food Production: Urban Bee Honey Farm of Victoria

• Green: J. Zsiros Contracting of Courtenay

• Health Care: Bayshore Home Health of Saanich

• Hospitality: Crystal Cove Beach Resort of Tofino

• Manufacturer: VMAC Air of Nanaimo

• Professional: Waymark Architecture of Victoria

• Retail: M & N Mattress of Parksville

• Technology: Trich Analytics of Victoria

• Tourism: Surf Sister Surf School of Victoria

• Trades: Westcom Plumbing & Gas of Sooke

• Wood Products: D&H Woodworks of Sooke

• Small Business: VI Creature Teachers of Campbell River

Just Posted

Coming up in Cowichan: MS Bike this weekend; Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan

MS Bike is personal for Heather Armstrong MS Ambassador Heather Armstrong has… Continue reading

Why I am riding for Hospice

Cycle of Life Tour coming this weekend

Lake Flashback: Problem tubers on the river, coliform closes Duck Pond, and a timely whale rescue in Nitinat Lake

Plus this week: special newlyweds from 1979, and a unique idea for island garbage

VIDEO: CVRD already hard at work on climate change issues, Morrison tells One Cowichan

‘Not only is our rubber on the road, we’re up to speed!’ CVRD chair answers climate action critics

VIDEO: Sod-turning for $10 million Cowichan Hospice House a joyful event

A happy crowd gathered near Cairnsmore Place to celebrate the arrival of Hospice House

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read