Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2007   by CARS Magazine

Westown Auto and Tire

Garage of the Year Finalists

3 technicians, 1 service writer

3 bays

Door rate: $89 mechanical, $105 electrical

Has been a local Rotarian for four years, member of the chamber of commerce and sponsors local soccer and hockey teams.

As the manager of Westown Auto and Tire in Hamilton Ont., Vince Salamone operates a successful shop from a few different angles. As both manager and technician, Salamone says he’s getting used to wearing different hats, but adds that various training programs have helped him along the way.

“We take a lot of management training programs like the AAEC course with Bob Greenwood, along with the courses offered through ACDelco to name just a few,” he says. “It’s really helped us manage a lot of aspects properly in terms of the business but also things like technician efficiency.”

While Salamone obviously has a solid handle on the business himself, he does credit this training focus for some of his success. “Over the past few years we’ve really grown as a small shop, and we certainly could not have done it without the kind of management training we’ve done,” he adds.

Part of that growth has included the recent hiring of a full-time service writer, to compliment the three technicians already hard at work. What’s more, Salamone says that she plays a big role in the training regime too.

“It’s very important that she get all the management training possible, so whenever we’re at a business seminar she’s there too,” he says.

To add to the hustle and bustle in the shop, Salamone says they are currently working closely with a local high school to bring in co-op students. It’s a partnership that Salamone says has worked well in the past.

“Our experience with the kids has been good,” he says. “Sometimes they see a bunch of souped-up cars and come in with a bit of a television fun and glory idea of the business, which can lead to some disappointment, but it’s something we have to keep doing.”

Other than attracting new people to the industry, a key challenge moving forward according to Salamone is the continuation of relevant training options.

“A lot of the major training programs are not really doing a very good job of keeping up to date,” he says. “If the training is going to be worthwhile, they have to start doing a better job in terms of keeping up with the changing technology trends, as well as making the sessions much more hands-on.”