Raffi has left the building: iconic service station in Côte Saint-Luc is closed for good
December 24, 2019
It is a very sad day in Côte Saint-Luc as Raffi Abikian has closed his service station at the corner of Westminster and Guelph Road for good.
After nearly 30 years serving the community, Raffi has reluctantly merged all operations to his NDG service station/body shop. He is hoping to implement a shuttle service. When I stopped by to see him, he promised me a full interview in January when all of the facts can be placed on the table. Let’s just say that Sobeys, the owners of the property, made the decision which results in Côte Saint-Luc losing our last surviving service station. It is a huge loss, not to mention an inconvenience to all of us.
Raffi is a friend to all of his clients. When you bring your car for a checkup and he notices something that is wrong, you randomly ask if he will remember the situation weeks or months later. “It is all in the computer,” he says, pointing to his head.
Raffi is honest, always looking to save the client a buck. “You do not need new tires,” he’d tell me. “I will find you barely used ones.”
My 15 year old Toyota is still on the road strictly because of Dr. Raffi. He took this dying patient and brought it back to life.
Raffi wishes to advise all of his clients that they will be serviced at his NDG location, expertly managed by George Soulahian. More details are to follow.,
Not too many years ago our community had Pneus Experts and Canadian Tire at then called Cavendish Mall, which serviced cars and Bernie’s on Côte Saint-Luc Road. The first two shut down and Bernie’s relocated.
When Shell opened a self-serve gas station, complete with a car wash and a depanneur, the future of Raffi’s was questioned. Shell is owned by Sobeys. Originally Raffi owned a station further down Westminister, closer to Montreal West,
“We started from scratch when we opened our first garage and built our client list,” says Raffi. “Then, we had the opportunity to get this location, so we took it.”
Raffi’s son Ari, a very polite young man, is part of his talented and devoted team of mechanics.
As a member of city council, I am anxious to learn more about the Sobeys decision. Will they apply for a permit to sell the land for housing? I would prefer the return of a service station.
Stay tuned to this space in January!
A well written synopsis Mike.
I like many will miss going to Raffies location on Westminster & Guelph. Totally agree that he is very likeable, honest & that’s what made him successful & “a must go to” for service of our cars. I’m confident all Raffies customers will stay loyal & follow him to his other location. I for one will definitely continue going to his other shop for all my car needs. Just hope that shuttle service happens. It is a necessity. Raffle, I wish you lots of continued success in your new full time home. Will be seeing you shortly. Happy Holidays.
Posted by: Richard Mayoff | December 24, 2019 at 06:43 PM
I have been a loyal client of Raffis and now his partner George for close to 30 years. He is part of our family’s lives and I am truly sorry to see him have to consolidate all of his operations to NDG. The silver lining is of course that he has not gone far and continues to serve his clients loyally. Raffi and George are salt of the earth, their honesty and work ethic are a rare gem and should be cherished. In the past and to this vey day, when I need a part for one of the many cars that Raffi and George have serviced over the years, they will scour the earth (and junk yards) to get you the best bang for the buck. Between picking up and dropping off cars at my house, working around my crazy travel schedules or even advising after catastrophic car accidents, I know that I can always count on the consummate service that Raffi and George offer to their clients. See you soon guys.
Posted by: Jack Ross | December 25, 2019 at 04:47 AM
I am really disappointed to read this news. I think Raffi is a great guy and an excellent mechanic. It is a sad day for Cote Saint-Luc that his station is closing. At least, the NDG station is not too far. Thank you, Raffi, for being part of our community for so many years!
Posted by: Sharon Zigman | December 25, 2019 at 09:48 PM
Yech, Housing? Double-yech. Mike, I would add that although Rafi has owned it for 0 years, it's been a service station forever. Before Rafi, it was the two Israeli brothers' Shell, Ari and his brother, in succession. And before that, going back to the early 60's, it was a White Rose station (until White Rose was bought by Shell). That location as a station is over 50 years old. And as for housing, they would have to dig up every shred of earth beneath it to remove all the contaminated soil from 50 years of oil tanks. I really hope they don't choose to ask the City permission for housing. We need Raffi!
Posted by: bryan wolofsky | December 28, 2019 at 12:26 AM
oops, typo: Raffi has owned it for "30 years"
Posted by: bryan wolofsky | December 28, 2019 at 12:28 AM