Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2008   by CARS Magazine

Garage of the Year Finalist Profile (October 01, 2008)

Elite Auto Centre

Just completing an expansion, the Elite Auto Centre in picturesque Kelowna, BC, is a service centre and auto boutique selling pre-owned newer vehicles. In business for four years and run by two brothers, Greg and Korey Gaspari, Greg runs the service side as the General Manager, while Korey specializes in sales.

Their location is a good one, according to Greg Gaspari, as they are located between two auto dealerships. His background is in marketing and he believes that taking care of the customer is an absolute priority. That means making the customer feel important and taken care of right from the time they step through the front door. When they do, they are greeted by a lobby/waiting area that is the equal of many dealership operations.

“It is just like a full dealerships lobby,” said Greg Gaspari. “We have wireless Internet access, comfortable chairs, a coffee bar, television and comfortable chairs. We provide our customers with courtesy cars when needed — these are four 2006 Toyota Corrolas.” In addition, besides following up all service work with a call to make sure everything is working well, they use a mail company to send customers regular service reminders and for specials promotions.

The technicians on staff are kept up to date with regular training. “We use a variety of tech training programs including North Coast and NAPA,” he said. “All training is paid for by us and occurs on company time.” He said that they use NAPA online training extensively as well.

Getting good young technicians into the shop is also important for Greg and he currently has two apprentices, one first year and on third year.

The main issue he faces is competition from dealers and other service centers, as well as retaining customers. As someone who hails from a marketing background, his biggest worry is how to properly and efficiently market his business.

One way is through the Web. The shop’s Web site is not only easy to navigate, but is made to provide customers with all the information about the shop’s services quickly, including a pre-approval service for credit, a welcome add-on especially when customers need important service done but are working within today’s tight family budgets. There is even a complete listing of the shops staff with contact information for everyone allowing customer to communicate with everyone from the Greg and Korey Gaspari to the shop’s technicians.

While using many commercially available software applications, his service manager, Robert Enns, is working with a local software developer to create a new management software package for independent service centres which will help improve service even more. Enns said that Elite upgrades its tools and software as needed so that they can always stay current with what is needed in the industry.


— 13 bays including 2 just for detailing cars — 5 licensed technicians, 2 apprentices, 2 service writers. — Door rate $89.00

Supports: A selection of local and national charities as well as an expanding role in supporting local hokey teams.


“Friendly, knowledgable service which is priced right and performed correctly the first time.”

— Andy Miller, Kelowna, B. C.

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