Right place, right time

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

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.”

SCOTT CARMICHAEL PHOTO

IT’S ALL IN THE DE­TAILS: Don Beaupre, owner/op­er­a­tor of Softouch Pro­fes­sional De­tail­ing in Alexandria, buffs a truck fen­der.

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