Shop of the Week is a weekly column devoted to showcasing the efforts of automotive shops and their teams across Canada. Want your shop to have a turn in the spotlight? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Your name: Bruce Williams
Shop name: Rivers Edge Services Ltd.
Location: Prince George, BC, Canada
Number of employees: 13
When did you open your shop? 1994
Do you specialize in anything?
Yes, we do! We have intentionally built a team to specialize in the many areas of automotive. If you need performance tuning or electrical work, we have got a specialist for that. If you need gas and diesel diagnostics, we have a professional for that. If you need automotive maintenance and repair, we have a dedicated team who is ready to get you back on the road in no time.
Main parts supplier: NAPA
What has been your biggest challenge as a shop this year and how have you navigated through them?
BW: Does it seem too obvious to mention COVID-19? Our biggest challenge this year has been going into the unknown with COVID and learning new ways of providing service. Back in March 2020, we had to shut the shop down for a month. It is scary as a business owner and the reality that people still need to fix their vehicles. We do not know what is in store with COVID, but we do know the necessity of learning to pivot. Developing new experiences for our customers so we not only keep our clients safe but our staff too, while still maintaining a seamless experience for our customers.
What’s your biggest success story this year?
BW: Although COVID virtually stopped business in March, it has been our most profitable year yet. We developed new procedures, upgraded our systems and are more connected as a team to be able to provide a positive safe experience for our customers. Sure, we experienced the stress of the unknown but ultimately, we have grown as a team and a company, we’re more connected with our community and we’re profitable.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
BW: We have grown substantially not only as leaders, but in our shop technology as well. COVID-19 solidified the importance of our current digital inspection with our Autovitals partners and we have developed systems where the only customer contact is at key drop off and pick up. Customer communication during the repair and maintenance process or any repair authorization is all communicated directly through our digital system. We love it and our customers love it. We not only keep everyone safe; we also have created a more transparent process for our customers.
What kinds of digital technology are you currently using/implementing?
BW: There are a few integral systems we have partnered with that add to our success. First, for our digital inspections, we partnered with Autovitals. We felt they were industry leaders when it came to the automotive space. We also partnered Protractor Software. We use them for our Point-of-sale system which has been a great experience for providing maintenance plans, scheduling efficiency and a transparent process.
If you could see one change in the aftermarket, what would it be?
BW: Better online parts ordering systems integrated. Although Protractor integrates well with all of our suppliers I feel there can be great advancements with speed and supplier comparisons to better bring added value to our customers based on quality, price and availability. In our industry time is money so saving the service team time really helps the whole team.
Tell me an interesting fact about your shop:
BW: I would love to speak more into the advanced technology that our shop implemented because it truly turns my gears. (See what I did there?!) But it is our community-minded team that is the driving force behind our success. We are always coming up with ways to stay connected and run the business as a family. Not a dysfunctional family Christmas dinner discussion, but the enjoyment of staff BBQ’s, golf tournaments, charity events and the personal hobbies and interests of our team. We have an open-door policy and a “no man or woman is left behind” mentality in our shop.
Name a part/product you and your team are particularly enjoying this month and why?
BW: We are assisting in the development of a product called Groove Glove by Tire Profiles. It is a laser measuring device that scans all the tires tread pattern. The benefits are it produces a transparent inspection that not only educates our customers on wear patterns but also advises if the tires need replacing, a rotation, an alignment, or a suspension inspection. It has been exciting being hands on in the development process and will be a game changer for our customers.