This week I opened a little vintage store in the front of my repair shop.For most garage’s this is a completely odd combination and people are quite surprised when they walk up and find the two together. My mechanic employees are quite amused by the whole proposition, mostly because they are shocked to see some of the “junk” that people will pay for. I’m carrying quite a few vehicle related things to keep the tie-in but mostly it’s housewares, toys, jewelry, purses, a few clothes, very old tools and some general tchotchkes but all vintage. I guess it’s fair to say that it leans a little to the female customer but I do have quite a few male items too.
The reason I bring this up is not only for the shameless publicity but to bring up the subject of what your mechanic’s shop should look like. We’ve all seen those disgustingly dirty shops that have many broken parts and oil seeping engines and transmissions scattered about. Some shops are so dirty, not only do you not want to walk in, you don’t want to leave you’re car there. I’ve never understood how any merchant could think this was a smart way to attract business. How is any customer to believe that if you can’t take care of your possessions, you will take care of theirs. I’ve had cars show up, after visiting another shop, with greasy fingerprints not only on the outside but also in the interior, grease and oil all over the engine and chassis and just plain sloppiness.
Generally speaking I think it’s safe to say the old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” doesn’t always apply. Sometimes a first impression will tell you most of what you need to know. A shop can have the best mechanic’s in the world but if they are dirty pigs, well frankly I wouldn’t trust anyone who can’t see that or care enough to fix it.
While searching for a new mechanic keep this in mind and if you run across a very clean shop with a cute little vintage shop in the front, well stop on in.