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Nikki Laframboise and Nicole Novotny. All photos by Kelly Hotte.

Car Spa helps women feel confident in maintaining their cars

By John McDonald on May 12, 2016

“It’s mainly about confidence.”


Spring Car Spa 2016 organizer Nicole Novotny’s succinct statement summarizes part of the goals of the recently held women-only event.


“My mother was a single parent. She had to learn. She had to ask. She had to do things. Including things related to cars. Women leave Car Spa with confidence and, a basic understanding of their cars. It really is an empowering event. We give women information they can use, especially if there is a roadside event. I’ve taken off my pantyhose to fix a broken fan belt. I’ve changed flat tires in the dark. I know what can happen.”


Nicole hosted the sold-out day with fellow car enthusiast Nikki Laframboise, owner of Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Nature Spa. Brenda Hollingsworth, personal injury lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth, spoke of what to do, and not to do, in the event of an accident.
Car Spa attendee Joanne Huels.

Car Spa attendee Joanne Huels.


Attendee Joanne Huels was pleased that she and her sister had been gifted tickets to the event.


“These are very knowledgeable women. And funny. We were given useful information, and made aware of what we need to know as drivers generally, and as women specifically. We went outside and lifted up the hood. We were shown how to use cables, how to change tires. And it was done in a way that nobody felt intimidated. We all felt very comfortable asking questions without being judged.”
Melissa Rainville of Swag Revolution Canada

Melissa Rainville of Swag Revolution Canada


Her sister, Christine, was clear where she would like this type of event to be held.


“I’d love to see something like this being given in schools, especially to the girls. It’s important to know what’s going on. It’s all about safety and preparation.”


Joanne picked up on that thought.


“And things do go wrong. I especially like that I now have the feeling that I won’t get charged more at the garage in the future. I will be able to ask questions, and understand what is being said. Actually, I think that I will be more selective as far as where I bring my car.”


That understanding is exactly what Nicole, co-owner of OK Tire Ottawa with husband Mitch Coutu, believes is vital.


“It’s important that women feel they can make informed decisions when it comes to repairing and maintaining their cars. We understand that some of our customers, especially single parents, are on a limited budget. It’s important that the car is maintained. At the same time, meals have to be served and bills paid. We’ll sit down and map out what are the priorities and what can be dealt with at a later date.”


As well as gaining vital information, Car Spa was a opportunity for women to pamper themselves. Vendors offered an array of services and products, including hair styling, massages, and handmade jewellery.
Putting the Spa in Car Spa.

Putting the Spa in Car Spa.


This was the first visit to Car Spa for Joanne, owner of the chocolate emporium JoJo CoCo. “It’s a really interesting concept and a great opportunity to meet some wonderful women. We’re learning and networking.”


Sarah Nagy, of Sahairah Hair Salon, has been to the event before. “I’m here to support the idea that every woman needs to understand what’s under their hood, especially if they get stuck on the side of the road. And after the women get their hands dirty with the car, I’m here with another woman to pamper them.”


Jan White, of Jan’s Custom Crystal Designs, was also returning to Car Spa. “These are wonderful women. I’ve learned so much about cars, and met some fantastic people.”


Attendee Jackie summed up the day.


“For me, the most important thing is that I know that there is an answer. I don’t have to panic. The basic understanding that today has given me allows me to ask the right questions. I now have confidence.”


The next Car Spa will be held in the autumn. Plans are underway to have a basic event open to men as well.  For more information, see the Car Spa Facebook group.