Survivors, they do what they have to do.
“I take pride in honesty, honesty is the most important thing in my business.” Devin, of West Park Service Center, Long Beach, NY
Many of you fellow Americans have auto repair shops in your own communities whose owners live by the same policy…honesty. And in these most trying times for our country, it might be good to pay them back for their honesty.
I needed to get my eleven-year-old Prius with 69,000 miles inspected so I pulled into West Park Service at Lafayette and Park in Long Beach. I was surprised to find a spot in their lot, usually, it’s packed with cars.
But when I spoke with Devin the owner of the repair service he told me business was off 95% due to the coronavirus. He said he had to lay off all three of his workers. He said he’s doing all he can to keep his door open for business.
I added an oil change to the work order and asked Devin to check the brakes, they had been making noise. I also told him I had to get a battery jump last week due to the car sitting idle for about a month. I couldn’t remember when I bought the battery, it’s been a while, so I asked him to check that too. I was practically asking to be sold a battery.
He called to say the front pads needed replacement. I told him to replace the pads and the rotors.
When he called to say the car was ready he said the battery held a charge just fine, no need for a new one. Even with his back to the financial wall, he was still honest.
When I went to pick up the car I told him, “You know the reason I keep coming back is that when I first started coming here, I detected a sincere honesty in you.” He said, “I take pride in honesty, honesty is the most important thing in my business.”
I was impressed.
But doesn’t this tell me something sad about life, that I should find an honest man unusual? Shouldn’t I find the dishonest man unusual? Most businesses are honest but I have learned in any business dealings I do have to keep my guard up. I suspect, so do you. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been bitten a time or two.
Devin leases the repair shop from the station owner who has one staff person collecting money for gas sales. The gas price is high but Devin has no control over gas prices.
The price might be high because it’s a personal-service gas station. The owner did have to let the gas-service person go but since the owner’s working with Devin to help him keep his business, Devin returns the favor by filling in as a gas jockey.
Devin has applied for small business funds but as of yesterday… he has yet to receive a dime.
When Devin opened his shop three years ago, the previous shop owner didn’t have a good reputation in the neighborhood. But through Devin’s honesty, skill, and perseverance, he overcame that past owner’s reputation.
Yesterday I posted my experience to I Love Long Beach on Facebook. Among similar comments there:
Good to know! I was due for an oil change and then all this happened so I never got it done… plus I’ve always gone back to my local guy where I grew up, so I needed a new place I could trust!
Devin is great. We use his services all the time.
Devin, honest man, best service. I will only go there for my car repairs.
This gas station provides compressed air at the side of the building…free. The only station around, to my knowledge, that does so. All year long people fill their bike and car tires at no cost.
That compressor runs on expensive electricity. On many a cold morning cars line up, mine included, to fill suddenly deflated tires…free of charge. Boardwalk bikers detour on Lafayette to do the same. We need to be grateful for that.
Business is off at his shop these days mainly because people aren’t driving, no place to go, many are laid off. But there are those of us who haven’t been much affected by the economic slide. I think we fortunate Americans can pick up some of the business slack.
Maybe if we Americans baring with this Corona storm better than most we might consider visiting our local honest repair shop, getting our oil changed a month or two early, get borderline tires replaced, or get other repairs done that we might have been putting off. Get a tune-up!
Help these honest, hard-working Americans get over this hellish hump.
Devin lives in Queens, (He’s looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom home in Long Beach) and his commute is usually an hour but with the corona traffic now it’s half that. When he gets here he’s the repair shop owner, mechanic, and fill-up guy. He’s doing whatever it takes to save his business.
Gotta salute that.
Americans, wherever you live, supporting the Devins of our country is doing them a solid. But you’d be doing a favor for yourself, and your community too. If a reliable and honest man is put out of business, who knows who will replace him?
Support your honest businesses, any way you can. And when you do so, let them know why you’re supporting them.
I read something long ago that’s stayed with me through the years, paraphrasing: When you see the goodness in people, they see that you see the goodness, and it brings out more goodness.
And, I think…more payback.
Categories: support honest business, Uncategorized
Jim, you are right, you don’t need to replace rotors every time you change pads. And as you say if the rotors are scored or warped you do need to replace them. But as I understand it, if you’ve replaced the pads before and never changed the rotors it’s best to replace them.
Aside from that, I recall a mechanic years ago, on an inspection, pointing out lines on my rotors saying he wasn’t “crazy about” seeing them like that. The pads were fine. From his statement, I felt the issue was borderline. So I left all as it was for the time being. This time I felt it prudent to go all in. New pads new rotors, I’m happy with the decision.
Thanks for your input, Jim.
You don’t need new rotors every time you get new pads. If the rotor is warped or has groove marks on it then replace it. Definitely not needed every time. I hope a mechanic didn’t give you that info.
Re: Gas prices. As I said in the piece, Devin rents the repair space from the owner, he has no say in the price of gas, he just pumps it now in an effort to keep his shop door open.
Re: brake pads. In my past ownership of cars, I didn’t usually get new rotors with pads but I understand that it’s a good idea to go with both pads and new rotors now. I have 69,000 miles on that 11-year old Prius, this is the first brake repair I had. So, in light of this guy’s financial situation, trying to stay open, I went big with new rotors too. I’m probably set now for the next 70,000 miles, for me or for whomever I pass the car on to.
I wouldn’t have minded a new battery either.
Yes, that place was bad before Devin took over, but it has a good rep now through his well-earned…honesty.
Be well, Joe,
Thank you, Mary. Guess we had a good example in Mom and Dad. They lived by that policy for sure.
Love you li’l sis,
That was an outstanding blog, Lee. All my life I have always thought you were the most honest man I’ve known, so I’m not surprised that you see the honesty and goodness in Devin because ‘it’s takes one to know one.’
Good sentiment and good advice.
Unbelievably high gas prices. Why would a customer bring a car to the mechanic and when the mechanic tells the customer that he needs new brake pads, the customer tells the mechanic to also replace the rotors. That place had a well earned reputation for ripping people off. Hope the new guy can change that…..
Al, Glad you liked the post. I hope you have a similar business in your area you can support.
Sandra, As I wrote in my piece, “The gas price is high but Devin has no control over gas prices.” Devin leases the repair shop space from the owner. Devin has no say in the price of gas, he just pumps it while he tries to keep his repair shop open.
More people would support Devin if he didn’t charge $2.79 for gas that everyone is selling for $1.99. The loss in gas markup would be offset by volume in sales, goodwill and new business brought into his shop. An honest guy perhaps, but no businessman.
Love your post can not wait for next post.