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Downtown Garage Automotive Repair Are Specialists

Coupon through September 30, 2016


Car Award Goes To....


July 27,2015
Lisa Colvin,

Life just got a little easier for Jaleane Thomas.

On Saturday, Thomas, a Highland Township resident and single mother who works 80-plus hours every week at MediLodge of Milford, learned she’d been chosen as the recipient of a completely refurbished 2004 Malibu Classic.

“I honestly didn’t think it would be me,” said Thomas, taking several minutes to wipe away tears and compose herself before climbing behind the wheel to get a feel for her new car.

The best thing about it? A backseat where her son, Audin, 2, can ride safely.

Wheels to Prosper

It all started back in May when Karen Wielkopolan of Milford’s Downtown Garage announced she was participating in Wheels to Prosper, a nationwide initiative started in 2011 by a California auto shop owner who wanted to “change the reputation and quality of service in the automotive repair industry,” and make a positive difference in his own community.

This year, 46 shops across the country – including Downtown Garage – gave away a car to a “deserving” individual or family.

Wielkopolan purchased the Malibu from clients who decided against making costly repairs the car needed, and Downtown Garage mechanics – along with other community partners – got to work, donating the materials, parts, time and effort to the project.

The end result: a safe car that looks and drives like new.


Right from the start, Wielkopolan asked for help in the decision-making process from her pastor, Paul Jenkinson of Oak Pointe Church in Milford.

Jenkinson was on hand Saturday, and said the project embodied what he tries to instill in his congregation.

We talk often in church about how we can use the gifts God gave us to help others,” Jenkinson said. “Karen is an amazing example of someone who uses her skills and abilities to bless the community.”

So, after receiving 19 nomination letters from people who either needed a car or knew someone who did, Wielkopolan and Jenkinson narrowed the field and talked with each of the five finalists over the phone.

“It wasn’t an easy choice,” Jenkinson said. “We learned a lot about these people through the letters, but when we talked to them on the phone and got to know them a bit we heard more about their stories and we heard their hearts.”

In the end, he and Wielkopolan individually came to the same conclusion, and Jaleane Thomas emerged as the winner.

“What really made it clear was the breadth of support she had,” Jenkinson said, noting about a dozen of Thomas’ coworkers and friends sent letters on her behalf. Her boss, MediLodge Kitchen Manager Sharon Boggetta, got the ball rolling. Her coworkers and friends followed suit, submitting letters about Thomas’ work ethic, kindness and – above all – dedication to her young son.

“She’s the most genuinely sweet person you’ll ever meet,” Boggetta said. “She’d do anything for anyone.”

While Thomas works 80 hours a week between her two jobs at the facility – one as a cook and a second in the activity center – she never calls in and always works hard, she added. Everyone who knows Thomas, Boggetta said, loves her.


Thomas said being chosen as the recipient of the car, for which she’ll pay $1, was nothing short of “amazing.”

“I haven’t had a car in about five years,” she said, still wiping away tears several minutes after Wielkopolan – also teary – handed her the keys and followed with a long hug. “I was able to get a house for us after my son was born. That was the most important thing – having a place to live. But I’m the only provider; I couldn’t afford a house and a car.”

“It’s amazing that (Downtown Garage) did this,” she added. “It doesn’t matter who won; it’s just the biggest blessing that they would do this for someone.”

Wielkopolan said she found the whole experience rewarding.

“The giving and sharing in this community made someone’s life better,” she said, acknowledging her mechanics, who embraced the project, as well as a long list of community partners who helped with refurbishment of the car.

Among those was David Ellis of Car Inc. in Milford, who donated bodywork and also went to lengths to find the big red bow that adorned the vehicle Saturday.

“It was just a great opportunity to do something for the community, to give something back,” said Ellis. “This is my hometown and these are my people.”

Other contributors included O’Reillys; Parts Plus; 1-800-RADIATOR; LKQ; Discount Tire, Sew Be It; Captain Jack; Oak Pointe Church; Milford Glass; and C & S Stitch Works.

We Service All Makes & Models


Downtown Garage Automotive Repair, conveniently located in downtown Milford, is the trusted and reliable source of auto repair that Milford and its surrounding areas have been waiting for.  Our specialists are ASE and Michigan State Certified Master Mechanics..

We pride ourselves on being considered the most knowledgeable and experienced in all makes and models of domestic and foreign vehicles. Whether your car is an older classic, brand new, or anything in between, we are proficient to take on the job.

Downtown Garage Automotive Repair is a family owned and operated business whose vision is to maintain a shop with a reputation of quality, dependability, and unsurpassed customer service.

Areas We Service

We Service the Following Areas
Milford MI, Highland, Highland Township, Commerce, Commerce Township, South Lyon, Wixom, White Lake, Walled Lake, Waterford and New Hudson

Customer Service Comes First


Owner, Karen Wielkopolan, understands the stress and uncertainty that comes along with vehicle issues. This is why customer service comes first and foremost. No matter how big or small the job, help will be there until you are happy with the work done.

Karen can also relate to women on a level rarely found at any other auto repair shop. She understands the apprehension that is felt when needing to deal with an unfamiliar situation. Being around cars her whole life as well as a car lover herself, Karen is able to explain and advise from a woman's point of view.

Trusting, Reliable & Knowledgeable Hands


This shop specializes in advanced drivability and engine performance also offering custom exhaust. Our specialists can recommend and install the proper exhaust to give your car the look and sound you want whether it be stock or custom.

Our ability to be patient and precise with every car that comes into our shop is unlike any other. It is greatly essential to us that our customers have peace of mind in knowing their vehicle is in good hands.

We Enjoy Working on All Types of cars ~ Foreign & Domestic


While we are known for our drive-ability expertise and exhaust knowledge,  we enjoy working on all types of cars.

Feel comfortable in bringing your vehicle to us ~ no matter the make or model.

Hours of Operation


We are open:  Monday – Friday  from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Phone 248-685-1969Fax 248-714-5415 email
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Wheels to Prosper

Print Friendly version of Hometown Life news story, "Milford business sees 'deserving' person for car giveaway"

To see the story on Milford Times website

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