Right place, right time
Working with one of the best in the business has given Don Beaupre of Softouch Professional Detailing some valuable experience.
Mr. Beaupre, who’s operated his shop on SDG Road 45 on the outskirts of Alexandria for almost a decade, spent two years working alongside Stéphane Gauthier, of Rockland-based Gauthier Polishing and Detailing, an award-winner at one of the industry’s most prestigious exhibitions.
“In 2012 and 2013 I trained with Stéphane in Rockland. He’s top-notch,” says Mr. Beaupre.
“He doesn’t usually take anyone in for training but I guess I was at the right place at the right time, and pretty lucky.”
Mr. Gauthier, who himself has about 25 years experience in auto detailing, took home top honours at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas in 2014 for his detailing work on a yellow 1970 Ford Torino GT owned by Joey and Carole Dubé, of St-Pascal-Baylon, Ont.
The annual SEMA show is the premier automotive specialty products and accessories trade event in the world, drawing about 60,000 people annually over its four-day, early November run.
“He’s definitely got the touch,” says Mr. Beaupre. “I learned a lot from him, different tips and techniques, and what to look for as far as products for the business.” That experience has also allowed Mr. Beaupre to bring European expertise and technology to his work. “Stéphane spent two years in Germany learning their techniques and about their products,” he says.
“Places like Germany and Switzerland... They’re about 10 years ahead of us, as far as the detailing industry goes.” Since working with Mr. Gauthier, Mr. Beaupre has incorporated the use of some German-made equipment into his business, gear that he feels makes a significant difference in the quality of the finished product that he provides for his customers.
Prior to establishing Softouch, Mr. Beaupre worked for Dupuis Ford in Casselman, starting in 2000. He moved on to Cornwall Honda briefly before deciding to start his own business.
“With the car detailing, I do a lot of reconditioning for three dealerships, too,” he adds. “Business is pretty good.”
Mr. Beaupre specializes in jobs involving motorcycles, cars, boats and motor homes/RVs – washes and waxes, but with a primary focus on paint correction, scratch repairs and chrome and aluminum polishing for the former two, and fibreglass and gel coat reconditioning for watercraft and recreational vehicles.
He estimates that he does at least 20 full-reconditioning boat projects as well as a number of similar RV jobs each year.
“The work on boats and motor homes is pretty hard... finding the right recipe to take the oxidation off the gel coat and the fibreglass to bring back the original shine, and you have to be careful,” Mr. Beaupre explains.
“They’re usually big jobs, but I enjoy doing them.”
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS: Don Beaupre, owner/operator of Softouch Professional Detailing in Alexandria, buffs a truck fender.