Auto Service World
News   March 16, 2021   by Christine Hogg

Shop of the Week: Smokey’s Auto Service Inc.

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!

Darrin Howitt, owner, Smokey’s Auto Service Inc.

Name: Darrin Howitt

Shop name: Smokey’s Auto Service Inc.

Location: Milton, Ont.

Number of employees: 1

When did you open your shop? April 2020

Specialty: Complete general repair shop, brakes, steering, suspension, tune ups ,etc.

Main parts supplier: NAPA, Halton Automotive, Apc.

What has been your biggest challenge(s) as a shop this year and how have you navigated through them?

Having opened right around the time that COVID 19 happened has made things tough to say the least. But with the support of my Mom and Dad and my wife I have somewhat been able to keep my sanity and slowly progress until things get under control. I cannot thank all my customers enough for all their support in helping me make my first few months in business a success.

What’s your biggest success story this year?

DH: I would say just being able to keep all my expenses paid and knowing that when COVID is over that my business will thrive.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business?

DH: It’s affected it in a huge way for sure. Being a new business, I don’t qualify for any of the government assistance programs at the moment, so it’s been tough.

What kinds of digital technology are you currently using/implementing?

DH: I have a shop website as well as a Facebook page, and have advertised on the local 101.3 fm radio station with some degree of success.

If you could see one change in the aftermarket, what would it be?

DH: Have a tiered pricing system so that people who are not licensed technicians don’t pay the same price for parts as the shops do. There has to be some loyalty from the jobbers to the shops.

Tell me an interesting fact about your shop?

DH: The origin of the shop name is an interesting story. About 30 years ago, a friend of mine gave me the nickname Smokey, after Nascar legendary mechanic Smokey Yunick. He gave me that name because in my younger years when I use to work on race cars, I would be working on multiple different cars at the racetrack on a Saturday night, trying to help guys use the rules to their advantage (not cheating, just finding the grey areas of the rule book). My wife and friends said that if I ever opened my own shop, I needed to call it Smokey’s for that reason.

Name a part/product you and your team are particularly enjoying this month and why?

DH: I have just recently purchased the new Kleen Flo direct injection flushing machine and have used it a couple of times with great success. With so many cars on the road today with GDI, I just felt it would be a wise purchase.

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