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Mike's Petro-Canada
by a customer - Mainstreeter - Summer 1997

FOR THE PAST 31 years, the Galazka family has operated Mike's Service Centre on Main Street in our community of Ottawa East. Mike's FINA, as some still prefer to think of the family -run operation, has always been there to help Ottawa East residents whenever they needed great auto service at a fair price. Whether it is Mike Senior, little Mike "Junior", Tom, Bob or any of the staff, you always know that you will be treated fairly.

It seems like just yesterday when, with great fanfare, Petro-Canada took down the FINA sign and put up its own. To their valued clientele, it appeared as though nothing had changed.

Mike and his staff repaired only what was absolutely required. No extras here. Bobby, who has been a permanent fixture at the station for even more years than the Galazka family, continued to explain things with his special charm. Both Mike Junior and Tom (John Walsh's son) followed in their father's footsteps by working at Mike's and have worked together, side by side, for almost 20 years. In addition to the regular staff, Mike's has always provided a place where many area high school, students have cut their teeth obtaining valuable work experience.

But there was a difference. Petro-Canada had taken control of operations behind the scenes. Even as Mike and his crew worked hard to keep Ottawa East rolling along, Petro-Canada thought little of the old Ottawa East station. Being a leased station, Petro-Canada was responsi-ble for maintaining the property. They didn't. In fact, for several-months on end, they failed even to send a company representative by to discuss day-to-day business regarding the operation of the station.

Recently, Petro-Canada decided it will only offer the Galazkas a one-year lease on the property. This means that Mike and his crew, after over 31 years in the same location, face the real possibility that they may be forced out of business next year at this time. Not only would this mean job losses for staff, some of whom like Bobby have worked at the station for almost 40 years. It would also be a loss for Ottawa East.

In an effort to stop this from happening, Mike purchased the commercially zoned property next door, at 123 Main Street. Mike approached City Hall with a plan to construct a three-bay garage in the back of this property. He required some exceptions from the zoning bylaw in order for the construction to take place.

Mike's application for a variance was approved on the spot by the Committee of Adjustments on June 5.

"We received over 100 letters of support. The Committee members said they had never seen anything like it. I think they were amazed," Mike Junior reports. "So thanks Ottawa East, for all of your support."

This submission to the Mainstreeter was written by a Mike's Petro-Canada customer.

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