The deal goes through with a loan from the Trust
“When you’re doing what you like to do, you don’t really consider it hard work,” says 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,” he says. “I love what I do.”
Originally from Israel, Oren came to Canada about a dozen years ago. He spent time in a few locations, including Kelowna, but his hope was to settle into a small town and buy a property. Looking around, he saw an opportunity in Creston: 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 hitches trying to obtain a loan from banks, Oren approached the 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 says, referring to its Investments program, which offers loans to Basin-based businesses, non-profits and social enterprises.
Now, Oren’s garage has been serving the Creston community for over two and a half years. “Things are going well,” he says, having 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. “Automotive is something that everyone needs, regardless of a
pandemic or not.”