When Robert Stein and Mark Shivers of Subaru of Orillia see Subaru vehicles driving the streets of Orillia, they aren’t thinking just about the dealership’s sales. They are also thinking about how their dealership can play a supporting role in the bigger picture of the whole Orillia community.
“We know how important it is for businesses to get behind local causes,” Shivers says. “Buying an ad is one thing but being hands-on by sponsoring, raising funds or volunteering for a community cause is our way of showing that we’re invested in the community from the ground up.”
Mark grew up in Orillia so he knows the community’s story. He knows how important it is to have a community recreational centre, a hospital with leading-edge equipment and the importance of playing host to cultural opportunities. He understands how important it is for groups, such as The Sharing Place, to hold mac and cheese lunches just as much as it is important to sponsor a community centre that offers something for everyone.
The dealership, which was purchased from the previous owner four years ago is part of the Plaza Auto Group, based out of Toronto. Community engagement is reflected in their motto of “family-owned and community-driven.” President/Owner, Robert Stein is the third-generation owner of the consortium which has been selling vehicles for 65 years in Ontario and has been actively involved in the dealerships’ communities.
Supporting the Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) has been a primary focus for Plaza Auto Group and Subaru of Orillia. Shivers sits on the Fundraising Committee at the OSMH Foundation so he knows first-hand where the need is greatest. Between #GivingTuesday and Subaru Ski Day, they contributed $10,400 to the OSMHF in 2020. The year prior, funds raised were used to purchase much-needed wheelchairs.
Contributions are also made annually by Subaru of Orillia to the OSMH Gala.
"Charlee's Run", a fundraiser that benefits the Neonatal and Paediatric department at OSMH, is another important event Subaru of Orillia sponsors and participates in. The 1km/5km Fun Run/Walk is named in memory of Charlee Clare Holmes and is held in honour of those who have experienced prenatal and infant loss.
Earlier this year, Subaru of Orillia and Plaza Auto Group were proud sponsors of the Orillia 2020 Ontario Winter Games. It was one of the final large community event opportunities open to the public this year.
COVID-19 has limited many sponsorship opportunities, particularly local sports. Some of the other past sponsored events in 2019 include the Downtown Orillia Classic Car Show, the Annual Toy Drive and the Orillia Triathlon.
Shivers is particularly proud of a donation that reflects his own sports interests as a youth growing up in Orillia. In 2018, Subaru of Orillia and Mr. Robert Stein presented the City of Orillia with a cheque for $50,000 towards the new Orillia Recreation Centre. It provides Subaru of Orillia with lobby-naming rights.
“It is literally just down the road from the dealership and it has been a project that has been several years in the making and it just officially opened up,” says Shivers. The $55.4 million Orillia Recreation Facility project includes an aquatic centre, gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms, a walking/jogging track, preschool room, office space and a fitness centre.
While COVID-19 has seen many key events cancelled, it is business as usual selling new and pre-owned Subaru vehicles and servicing at Subaru of Orillia.
“We are fully open and with proper safety protocols in place,” says Shivers. “Customers can come into our showroom or make a purchase on-line.”
While everyone’s focus is on COVID-19, he wants to remind people that winter is upon us.
“We want to make sure people are motoring safely so we’ve been offering half-off winter tire packages with the purchase of any new or pre-owned Subaru until November 30th,” he said.
Subaru of Orillia offers an exclusive lifetime engine warranty with the purchase of a new or pre-owned Subaru. For more information visit them at 385 West Street South in Orillia or at www.subaruoforillia.com.