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!
Steve Viera, Traditions Auto Service
Name: Steve Viera
Shop name: Traditions Automotive Service
Location: Scarborough, Ontario
Number of employees: 5
When did you open your shop? 1997, but the shop existed in 1991 under a different name.
What has been your biggest challenge(s) as a shop this year and how have you navigated through them?
SV: Adapting to the specific needs of each customer while maintaining current COVID-19 protocols. We did our best to continue to operate as safely as possible. We minimized physical interaction as much as possible by illuminating while you wait service and offering local vehicle pick up and drop off or Uber services. We’ve also been proactively maintaining a steady supply of disinfectant and PPE products.
What’s your biggest success story this year?
SV: We were able to keep all our staff on board this year and had an eight per cent growth in sales.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
SV: It has been incredibly stressful but overall, I would say it has impacted us in more positive ways. We found that clients were more inclined to repair rather then replace their vehicles given the current financial uncertainty. At the start of COVID-19, we almost immediately eliminated “while you wait” service which of course decreased our overall car count, but increased our ARO.
What kinds of digital technology are you currently using/implementing?
SV: We utilize a variety of programs and resources such as:
AllData and Identifix
Mechanicnet for our Customer relations management.
A comprehensive website that offers online appointment scheduling
Social media presence through Google and other social medial platforms
Business management training through our relationship with the Automotive Training Institute and RPM Training
AutoServe1 for digital inspections, reports and communication with our customers
If you could see one change in the aftermarket, what would it be?
SV: Training. Our local colleges do a great job teaching the in-class fundamentals to aspiring technicians, but I think revamping curriculum to better prepare technicians for actual in shop work is important. Continued learning is also crucial. While we have some great online resources, we were finding that (pre-COVID-19) in-class training was often rushed or condensed. In-class training is and will always be the best received training by today’s technicians.
Tell me an interesting fact about your shop?
SV: We have been a family-run business since inception. While we have adapted and evolved over the years, we maintain the personalized customer experience. Any decisions made are with the customer’s best interests at heart. Growing up with a small business gives you a different level of appreciation for customer relationships. I have had the pleasure of meeting some great people throughout my career and love when I am given the opportunity to take care of a new driver in the family. This is the reason why I changed our name to “Traditions” Auto Service.
Name a part/product you and your team are particularly enjoying this month and why?
SV: We recently purchased the newest TPMS tool from Snap On after our OTC unit seized to operate halfway through tire season. We sold more tire pressure sensors this winter season with our tire packages so this tool addition came at perfect time.