Detroit Shop Proof Free Enterprise Still Works
What started in a garage has grown into a world-class facility.
An ASA shop in Oak Park, Mich. – Curt’s Service – is proof the free enterprise system still works in America.
What started as a technician working out of his garage has become one of this nation’s most advanced automotive repair and service centers. Like so many ASA shops, it also has become a family business.
It all began in 1979 when Curt Massoll got laid off at Chrysler’s tech center in Detroit. After graduating from high school, Curt attended Mo-Tech Chrysler Technical School. Later he worked for Chrysler as a testing and teardown technician.
After being laid off, he worked out of his garage for a while. Then, in 1981, he transferred his auto repair business to a Sunoco service station that included three work bays.
In 1985, he purchased the shop’s current location on 11 Mile Road in Oak Park – a suburb of Detroit – and in 2012, added 8,000 square feet to the facility.
Everything possible was done to make the addition “green.” The new area includes water pneumatic lifts, which use compressed air and tap water instead of electrical motors and hydraulic oil. There’s high-efficiency lighting, as well as highly effective insulation, reflective roofing and skylights. The paint is low volatile organic compound (VOC), and there is an on-site recycling collection area.
The concrete floor incorporates plastic tubing, through which warm water runs, keeping the slab at 70 F. There’s zero waste oil; it’s repurposed. The “clean-burn” boiler is fueled by 100 percent repurposed waste oil.
Curt’s Service opened with the goal of providing the best auto repair in the Detroit area. It has achieved that goal and now, it’s also known as an environmentally friendly shop.
The shop works on all makes and models, doing everything from simple oil changes to dealer-level diagnosis. Curt’s Service is Bosch Service authorized, ASE certified, an ASA member in good standing and a AAA-Approved Auto Repair Center. It has grown from a three-bay service station to a 14-bay, world-class facility.
Curt is extremely proud of what he started and what it has become. He says he got a great education from “the university of hard knocks.” He has maintained his ASE master status as well as his certification as a Bosch automotive technician. His participation in automotive industry 20 Groups has continued to refine his automotive management skills. And he’s often seen in the shop, getting his hands dirty, working right alongside the rest of the guys.
There’s nothing he likes better, though, than to interact with customers. He has always been a highly involved, friendly face of the business. He likes to greet customers and shake hands. He’s also so proud of what he and his team have built that he often takes customers on tours of the facility.
His son, Andy, who has been in the business 14 years and is co-owner, also likes to interact with customers. “But there’s nothing more satisfying to me,” says Andy, “than to observe a customer being handled by an employee with the same care that I would personally deliver. It’s good to see the processes of what we do being done very well, have the customer pick up their vehicle with a smile and afterward write us a fantastic review – all without any involvement from me. That’s when I know I am doing my job well.”
Andy is certified by Bosch and ASE as a master technician and is an ASE-accredited service consultant. Andy’s brother, Keith, is shop foreman. He’s certified by Bosch and ASE as a master technician. Their sister, Katie, has served as office manager, but stays home now to take care of her son.
Working with family can be challenging, but it also can be a positive, says Andy. “When you need someone to count on, you can always rely on family.”
Andy says Curt’s Service caters to each customer’s situation and tries to deliver a maintenance and repair plan that is best for that customer and that customer’s car. “Our business philosophy is simple,” says Andy. “We live by the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you.’”
What’s ahead for Curt’s Service? “Our addition has given us room for growth,” says Andy, “and we want to keep on pleasing our customers and growing.”
Name of Shop: Curt’s Service
Location: Oak Park, Mich.
Square Footage: 15,000 square feet
Number of Employees: 15
Number of Repairs Weekly: 105
Projected Annual Sales: $2.5 million
Website Address: www.curtsservice.com
Why Andy Massoll Is a Member of ASA: “ASA is a professional organization that has our industry’s best interests in mind. It is good to have an organization like ASA to watch your back and be the voice of reason for the industry to the general public as well as the government.”