SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 12, 2021 (Bill’s Marketplace / Sponsored) – Steve Smith, Founder and Owner of Utah’s Five Steve’s automotive specialists locations, still remember the days when mechanics could make auto repair “house calls” with a few tools and all the knowledge they could possibly need in their heads.
But cars have changed quite a bit over the past four decades, from simple gasoline cars forged from iron and steel to modern machines with plastics, metals, computer chips and composites, and fueled. to electricity.
“Some cars, you have to take the engines out to change the spark plugs, the way they build these things now,” Smith said with a chuckle.
But that’s fine with him. Almost 45 years after Smith opened his first mechanical shop in the Salt Lake Valley, he has long understood how to anticipate and adapt to changes in the auto repair industry while remaining true to the values at the old, including giving the customer a good price for the best work and building relationships as if those bringing the vehicles were members of his own family.
And they have become, sort of.
“In our Millcreek store, we have third generation customers, ”said Smith, a glint of pride in his eyes. “They came after their parents and grandparents came. This is the kind of company that we are. We do not operate on the “one time, take all your money, see you later” principle. We want to build a relational business. We want to know our customers. It is a family business. “
Smith opened his first store in 1977 at a former Texaco gas station in Millcreek, near Olympus High School. When the school needed land to expand, Smith opened a store a few miles away in a larger building, which he renovated to include 10 workstations.
“And business really took off,” he recalls with a smile.
His family grew to include five sons, and they grew up with a certain respect for all that their father had accomplished.
“Growing up, they wanted to be part of the business in their different areas – the accounting part, and some of them were mechanics and technicians, so they all wanted to be a part of it, so we had to grow up to make that happen. Smith said.
“So an opportunity arose for a location in Sandy, so we opened it. It went very well. One of my sons lives in Brigham City, so an opportunity presented itself at Free field, and he wasn’t in the business at the time, so he wanted to be, so we decided to take that one and let him run that store. So this was our third store.
“Then we had another opportunity in Orem, a very nice store there that we renovated and opened last March, it was then our fourth store.
Then we had another opportunity this spring in Hyde Park, just north of Logan. The new store, Steve’s tire and car open in April.
All of his stores close on weekends, and Steve has a good reason for this rule.
“A lot of the stores in our line of business are open on Saturdays, and we decided rather than do that because our techs also have a life they might want to go out and go fishing with their family on the weekends and enjoy their family, ”he said.
“So we did several things. We have cars on loan for the cars we have to keep on weekends so that we don’t leave our customers stranded, and we give our employees weekends. I think that’s really important, along with vacations and health benefits, and that sort of thing for our employees.
Weekends off are also an incentive that allows Smith to attract the best mechanics he employs. All hires tend to come in with multiple certifications and must take online training courses offered by major auto companies, Smith said. Its mechanics are constantly learning new ways to better maintain the cars, trucks and SUVs that customers bring.
Smith is also proud of himself and his team to spot potential apprentices who are passionate about the trade.
“They are doing really well because they like to fix cars,” he said. “It’s kind of a requirement. Some of the techs I’ve seen don’t really like fixing cars, and I don’t know why they’re really in the business. But these young guys who really want to learn the trade, they have been among our best. We have a learning program that accompanies them throughout the process, sets them goals and accompanies them throughout the process.
Smith is also proud of his stores’ “Bumper to bumper” a service.
“If you bring us your car, we take care of almost everything. You don’t have to go to 15 different places to get your car repaired.
But Steve’s Automotive Specialists shops use the same manuals as all other shops to determine the duration of specific jobs, keeping costs in line with industry standards.
And as for future expansions, what will Steve do now that his sons are all employed full time in family businesses?
He barely paused for a moment.
“I also have a lot of grandsons,” Steve said with a laugh. “So maybe we can put them in the mix!” “
Steve Smith, Founder of Steve’s Auto Specialists, Talks About Business Expansion and Upcoming Bill Gephart Show Podcast Segment
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