Jon Karlsson is the man behind Jon’s Auto in Crofton who set up shop in the former location at the Shell gas station occupied for an eternity by Geoff Hopps.
Karlsson, 49, has the business running but he’s still in transition from his other Jon’s Auto location in Gimli, Manitoba and doesn’t expect to be in Crofton on a full-time basis until after Christmas. His main man mechanic Jeremy Johnstone is running the show until Karlsson gets established here permanently.
Johnstone relocated to the Crofton shop at the end of May.
“It’s been OK,” said Karlsson after making one of his three visits to the shop from Gimli since taking over. “We’ve got to get the traffic up a little bit. A lot of people think the shop was closed.”
There was a transition period after Hopps retired before Karlsson bought the mechanical side of the business. The gas bar and convenience store are operated independently.
Karlsson admits it’ll probably take a while for people used to being served in the community by Hopps for so long to make the adjustment. But he plans to offer the same high grade of service on all makes and models of vehicles, with computer diagnosis and free estimates.
The shop at 8314 Crofton Rd. is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Karlsson was born and raised in Iceland and then spent three years in Denmark before coming to Canada in 2011.
He’s been the owner-operator of Jon’s Auto in Gimli since 2013.
“We took over the shop in Crofton middle of May after Geoff retired,” Karlsson explained. “That came up all of a sudden.”
Settling in Manitoba wasn’t the first choice for the lifelong auto repair industry specialist. It just worked out that way.
“When we decided to move to Canada, we wanted to settle down in British Columbia,” he conceded.
“We started about three years ago looking over to the Island, making a few trips over there to check things out.”
Karlsson checked into buying a house and shop in Port Alberni and also considered Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
After a stop in Crofton where his cousin lives, Karlsson heard about the local shop. “I went and talked to Geoff and the rest is history,” he said.
“That’s how things started. I’m not prepared like I wished I was.”
He’s now anxious to get out of Gimli which is a cold place, even for a native Icelander. Due to circumstances with the business he has to stay there longer until it’s sold so he can move on.
“I can’t wait to leave here,” he stressed during a phone interview Sunday. “It’s snowing right now.”
Johnstone came to the Island to at least get the shop operational and Karlsson is ready to follow suit.
“It’s a little bit bigger in Gimli,” he noted of the shop sizes. “But basically we’re going to be offering the same service in Crofton.”