Probably, one of the most fulfilling yet difficult jobs is self-employment. You have to worry about getting business, you have to excel at what you do, deal with employees, make sure your accounting is up to date, and anticipate what will happen in the economy. Small business owners tend to be extremely busy all the time, and I find it amazing how they, more than most, find time to do a great deal of good for the community.
This month’s Story Behind the Person focuses on one such individual, Daren Jones. Daren operates a very successful autobody business, and somehow finds time to be the current president of the Port Perry Rotary Club.
When I met Daren, I was interested to learn what motivates a young entrepreneur, to run a successful business, and also dedicate an excessive amount of his personal time to the betterment of the community?
Born in Peterborough, Daren grew up in Cavan and then moved to Bethany. I naturally assumed he attended a local high school, and was surprised to learn his father drove Daren to Port Perry High, each day.
I asked what the reason was, and Daren smiled. “My father operated an auto body shop in Port Perry, and drove me to Port Perry High School every day because I would be able to work in his business after school.” He paused. “Every day!”
I laughed at his father’s enterprising nature. The business Daren operates is M&R Autobody, which is part of the Simplicity Car Care group. Daren’s father started the business in 1977, and Daren has been there for more than twenty years.
“I took Mechanical Engineering and was offered a position with Siemens, but the car business was in my blood. Besides,” he paused, “I enjoyed working with my father.”
Along with working for his father, during his younger years, Daren also worked for Sunoco (now Pioneer at Simcoe and Scugog Street) and a transmission shop, all in an effort to gain more experience.
In 2006, Daren married the love of his life, Cheryl, and the couple now has a boy and a girl. In 2015 Daren became a member of the Rotary Club, and I asked him why he joined, as it seemed his life was busy enough.
“That credit goes to Karl Herder, a family friend and probably one of the first people to hold me as a baby.”
“Rotary does so much for the community, and I wanted to give back, as this area has been so good to me,” Daren explained. He is also a member of the 100 Men Club and several other charitable causes.
Ribfest raised an amazing amount of money, all of which went to the Hospital Auxiliary’s new CT scanner fund. The Port Perry Pedals, an event organized last year, in conjunction with Mark Gibbons, saw a hundred or so cyclers raise over $40,000. That ride, by the way, is scheduled to be held on September 11th, this year, but check listings as we near the date.
There is an annual golf tournament and silent auction, as well as a BBQ trailer used at events, all the money raised goes to community causes.
The pandemic has certainly curtailed fundraising efforts for all organizations, but Daren is driving hard to bring it back to where it used to be.
If you want to chat with Daren, drop by his place of business, on highway 12 (just south of Haugens) or send him a note at email@example.com. It is nice to see dedication and involvement in our town, by members of the business community.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]