Small-Town Shop Offers Big-Time ServicePosted 4/17/2006
By Lisa McReynolds
Mike Lavoie, owner of Lavoie's AutoCare Center in Haverhill, N.H., has always been curious and loves to learn. This was a perfect combination for Lavoie growing up. In 1949, Joseph Lavoie, Mike's father, started Lavoie's AutoCare Center. Mike grew up around the shop, and his father taught him early to treat each car as if his family owned it. Mike's curiosity and interest in automotive service only grew from this point.
From 1978 to 1980, he went to a technical school where he received his associate's degree in automotive technology. After graduating, Mike worked with his father at Lavoie's AutoCare Center. That same year, after his brother turned down an offer to take over the family business, Lavoie decided to continue the great service his father had started.
"We give the best service possible, which means we still work for some of the same families as my father did," Lavoie said.
When Mike took over his father's business, he continued to do general repairs. However, he didn't stop there. Over the years, he took the time to incorporate more services such as A/C work, diagnostics, preventive maintenance, alignments and tires.
He also started a 24-hour towing service, and has had many opportunities to do recovery work. "New Hampshire weather brings a fair amount of towing," he said.
One of his biggest accomplishments to date has been receiving the 2006 NAPA ASE Technician of the Year award. He is also very proud of the fact that he holds 34 ASE certifications, including C-1.
Lavoie eventually recruited three more people to be on his team, including his wife, Dawn, who does the bookkeeping. "I think having my best friend at work is a daily pleasure," he said.
At Lavoie's AutoCare Center, everyone works as a team and tries to go beyond customers' expectations to give them the service they need. They always explain to their customers what they need to repair the problem. They take the time to make sure customers understand what they did and see the value of the job.
"We always thank our customers, look them in the eye when we are talking to them and shake their hand when the job is done," Lavoie said.
"I went to CARS in Las Vegas for two years and acquired my AMI (Automotive Management Institute) credentials and became an AAM (Accredited Automotive Manager). The training class I took in Vegas was one of the best classes I have been to, so it inspired me to go back," Lavoie said.
Lavoie's AutoCare Center has a fair and honest reputation in its community because it gives back to the community in which its employees work. Ron Vinnacombe, master tech, is the captain of the fire department; and Sean Miller, service adviser, helps high school athletes train at a local health club. Lavoie has also helped out in the community by serving as fire chief since 1981, precinct commissioner for the past three years and church trustee for the past six years. He feels this is what makes them a big part of their community. He and his team also take the time to get to know all of their customers, where they live and work.
The best marketing tool that Lavoie's AutoCare Center has is word-of-mouth. Word gets around fast in a small town. Lavoie believes his business is unique because it is in a small town. Another great marketing tool Lavoie uses is its customer service index (CSI) program. Lavoie's AutoCare Center became a part of this program through NAPA in 1997, and then through AAA in 2000.
"Our CSI program won us the 'Independent Shop of the Year' for the state of New Hampshire in 2004," Lavoie said.
Customers have been loyal to the shop for many years because of the great service they receive. To continue its great service, Lavoie's AutoCare Center will be growing. Within the next year, Lavoie hopes to expand the shop with two more bays that cover approximately 1,600 square feet. Lavoie's AutoCare Center will then have four bays and 4,400 square feet to house all of its equipment and provide more efficient service.
For 57 years, Lavoie's AutoCare Center has been committed to offering the Haverhill community quality automotive service. The staff's learning and striving for excellence never stops, said Lavoie. Customer loyalty never stops.
If Mike Lavoie and his team have anything to do with it, the reputation of a fair and honest small-town automotive repair shop will last another 57 years.
Shop StatsName: Lavoie's AutoCare Center
Location: Haverhill, N.H.
No. of employees: 4
Projected annual sales volume: $425,000
No. of years in business: 57
On the benefit of being an ASA member: The networking of friends and associates that I met through ASA keeps me motivated to always try and better myself and the industry. I feel that we need to support our industry. The best way to do that is through associations in numbers. ASA does a good job.
AutoInc. Web Site |
ASA Web Site |
Court finds Texas Insurer-Owned Repair Shop Law Constitutional |
ASA's New Training, Education Initiative Debuts May 5 |
VOC Issues: An Update |
Ethical Dilemmas - We Face Them Every Day |
The E-myth...the Enemy Within |
Guest Editorial |
Tech to Tech |
Tech Tips |
News Briefs |
Taking the Hill |
Around ASA |
Shop Profile |
Net Worth |
Stat Corner |
Copyright (c) 1996-2011. Automotive Service Association®. All rights reserved.