Auto Service Professional

DEC 2018

Magazine for the auto service professional

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26 A S P D e c e m b e r 2 018 S h o p P r o f i l e I If you're looking for an ideal example of a quality-minded shop located in a small town setting, look no further. Smitty's Car Service has been taking care of locals since 1939 in a town that rivals the idyllic Mayberry for its charm and all-American flavor. Located about 13 miles south- west of Akron, Ohio, Smitty's lies on the immedi- ate outskirts of 200-plus-year-old Doylestown. Owner Jeff Smith's grandparents purchased a plot of land next door to the circa 1926 White Rose Gasoline and Tourist home in 1932. In 1939, son Robert "Smitty" Smith (current owner Jeff's fa- ther), graduated from high school and opened the doors initially under the Smitty's Texaco banner. In 1979, the shop was renamed Smitty's Car Service. Current owner Jeff Smith began working with his father in 1983, eventually taking control in 1989. e shop has continued to thrive, as a result of Jeff's penchant for quality work and straightfor- ward and honest customer relationships. "Our customer base is extremely loyal," noted Jeff. "We're now servicing three generations of area families, from grandparents to grand kids. We have a close relationship with all of our customers, with many of them treating us like extended fam- ily. at's an element of our business that delivers a great deal of satisfaction and can only occur when you treat people well." e main shop building boasts 3,800 square feet and 6 bays. Currently, the shop is staffed by Jeff, his son Doug who serves as vice president of operations for their sister company, Portage Mo- tor Cars, and three shop technicians. In addition to Jeff, techs Jonathan Lemon and Richie Williams are ASE certified, with recent addition Kyle Rozak preparing for his certification. In addition to servicing locals (within about a 10-mile radius on average), about a year ago, Smitty's also began managing gas and diesel fleet vehicle maintenance and repairs for two area busi- nesses, the largest of which involves seven large box trucks and 70 passenger cars and light trucks. While the service business keeps the Smitty's crew busy as mice in a cheese factory, in 2007 the shop expanded with the addition of a licensed used car dealership (Portage Motor Cars) in order to further increase sales, offering "cream of the crop" vehicles in top-notch condition. Smitty's has long been known for servicing older "vintage" vehicles in addition to the primary market base of daily drivers. Several area collectors steadfastly bring their restored vehicles to the shop whenever a mechanical issue arises. When asked why he continues to address this market segment, Jeff noted, "Once we started taking care of these collector cars, they (the owners) simply won't let me quit. ey demand that our shop be the only one to work on their babies." e shop has restored and/or serviced a multi- tude of classic vehicles, with one of the highlights involving a 1948 Tucker that a local collector had loaned to the movie production company that made "Tucker: e Man and His Dream," star- ring Jeff Bridges. e agreement was that the car was never to be driven beyond first gear and not abused. During filming, however, the car was actu- ally used in a chase scene, and damaged as a result. e car was then shipped to Smitty's for repair to Up-to-date service with a small-town flavor SMITTY'S CAR SERVICE Smitty's shop originated in 1939, started by Jeff's father, Robert "Smitty" Smith. Jeff began working at the shop in 1983, eventually taking control in 1989. The pleasing-to-the- eye customer waiting room is adorned with a tasteful array of vintage automotive memorabilia. Doylestown is a classic small-town-America village of about 3,500 residents, located 13 miles southwest of Akron, Ohio.

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