Welcome to the New Year

2018 is right around the corner. Time for new goals! Or not. Maybe they’re the old goals you didn’t reach in 2017. I’m putting my hand in the air on that one. Everyone starts out in January with the idea that it’s a new year and a new you! I don’t know about you, but I still have to drag my ‘old you’ into the New Year. She doesn’t always follow through with the ‘new you’s’ grand plans. They look good written in my planner. And yes, I actually write them down. Putting them in my notes on my phone just isn’t the same. We set goals as a business too. We’re always focused on improving customer service, hitting training hour goals, raising standards in areas we feel need improvement and reaching community support goals. I think these goals are easier to reach as opposed to goals I set for myself because we have accountability among our team. It’s easier when everyone is working toward the same goals. Sometimes we do have to carry the goals over to the next year because we aren’t quite were ... read more

Intrepid Fallen Heros Fund

Being a NAPA Autocare center gives us, a small independent business, the opportunity to take advantage of training, parts purchasing and the ability to participate in different programs. Each year, NAPA offers a 'give back and get back' program that offers customers a rebate as well as a way to give back to the service people that have been injured protecting our freedom. We've participated in this program for years and always felt it was a terrific opportunity to give back. Several of us from Arie Nol Auto Center had the opportunity to attend a NAPA training event this past year. One of the speakers was an Armed Services veteran that had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while serving in the military. He spoke about the affect his injuries had not just on his life but on his family's life. Listening to him share what having access to the programs offered by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund meant to himself and his family, put the struggles he faced right in front of us. NAPA has ... read more

The Farmer’s Almanac is Forecasting…

Snow. Cold. Maybe even bitter cold. Bitter cold in Michigan is best described as cold that causes you to sit in your car at the gas station saying to yourself “Get out and pump gas!”. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But you know that feeling if you’ve lived in Michigan for any amount of time. Not being prepared for winter weather can put you in an inconvenient situation. A non-starting car at school, home, or work throws everything off. And if it’s cold outside, that just adds injury to insult as you stand in the blowing wind and wait for a ride or tow truck. Helping you deal with this situation is our job. Getting you back on the road as quickly as possible is always our goal. We would rather see you perform routine maintenance and not have to deal with this situation at all. Sometimes, a car breaking down is just a part failing and nothing you can control. But, having an ASE certified technician inspect your vehicle before the winter wind comes rushing in makes it less likely that you’ll b ... read more

Don't Do This

I don't like putting gasoline in my car. I don't like the smell of that liquid that fuels my vehicle. I like it even less in the winter time. But, I'm married to a car guy who is pretty serious about not running your fuel tank down to empty. There is the rare occasion when I do see that little light on my dashboard letting me know I need fuel—but it's very rarely. When we were first married and he would on occasion say, “How long has your low fuel light been on?” To be honest, I just thought Jeff didn't want his beloved bride to run out of gas and have to sit on the side of the road. The truth was that he didn't want to have to replace the fuel pump in my car. That, and he didn't want me sitting on the side of the road either. When you run your fuel low consistently, it can damage the fuel pump. If you have dirt in the bottom of your fuel tank, it can block the fuel filter. It’s a lot cheaper to keep your fuel at least at ¼ tank than to replace these items. Also, don't trust the range ... read more

Give Your Brakes a Break

Metal on metal. We say this on occasion to customers to describe the current state of their brakes. But what does it actually mean? ‘Metal on metal’ means that the brake pad has completely worn down and that the base of the pad is coming in contact with the rotor. The bigger question is, what does this mean during the operation of your brakes? What happens when you push down on that brake pedal? It means the braking ability of your vehicle is compromised. The non-technician description of what happens is that you push down on your brake pedal and the pressure from the brake fluid causes the caliper to push the brake pad against the rotor. Over time the brake pad wears down, as it should. There are several ways you can know that this is happening. You may have an indicator on your dashboard that is notified by a sensor on your brake pads that they are low. You may hear grinding or squeaking from your brakes. Why don’t you want to ignore these signals from your vehicle? Your brakes stop ... read more

A Woman In Auto Care

Last year I had someone approach me to see if I would be interested in attending a leadership conference in Indianapolis for the Women in Auto Care. I had heard of this group over the years, but I hadn’t pursued learning more about them. The group’s focus is on industry insights, networking, and professional development. I have since attended that conference, as well as their winter leadership conference this past month. Many of the conferences and trainings Jeff and I attend are geared towards shop owners. The Women in Auto Care conference is geared towards women working in the automotive industry aftermarket. The speakers were amazing and I walked away feeling like I had learned about what is happening in the automotive industry, with a renewed opportunity to improve my skills as a business owner. Women share their experiences and expertise in their positions working in development, sales, logistics, engineering, technicians, etc. The Women in Auto Care also focus on mentoring and pr ... read more

The Christmas Spirit

We are a Marine Corp Toys for Tots donation sight and it’s so terrific to watch the toys pile up in the donation box. Over the years, we’ve heard some heartwarming stories about why people donate to this particular charity. Sometimes it's someone who benefitted as a child from Toys for Tots. Other times, it's someone who brings their children in and has them put the unwrapped toys in the box as a lesson about giving back. Maybe it's someone who feels blessed and wants to bless a child with a gift at Christmas. When I walked into my office one day this week, there was a ten dollar bill on the desk with a note that read “Buy toys with this money.” Someone had come in and given Cameron the money and told him to buy toys for the Toys for Tots donation box. The holiday season can be stressful, hectic, emotional and overwhelming. Keeping the Christmas Spirit alive can be tough when battling lines at the store, frustrated people and lots of traffic. In our world, there are days when we are ad ... read more

Our purple pens

Sixteen years ago I began working at Arie Nol Auto Center. It was a completely male dominated environment. There were very few woman working in the automotive industry and there were pretty specific ways that things were done. I hadn’t worked in automotive and Jeff had worked his whole adult life in the shop. We occasionally differed on how something should be done. I’m fortunate in that he’s opened-minded and agreed with trying something to see if it worked for us. It didn’t always. I occasionally went down in flames but it was a learning experience. I was handling the marketing and advertising and back in 2000, the only decision that needed to be made was what size our phone book ad was going to be. We had a customer that came in and he sold marketing items. Pens, cups, cards etc. We didn’t have any marketing materials at all. I figured it was time to try something out. I picked pens with our name and number on them. Lavender-colored pens. Mostly because I thought they were different ... read more

Finding Your Place

Have you ever gone to another hair salon or stylist to get your hair cut? Not your usual stylist. Maybe you heard about a new stylist, and you weren’t unhappy with the current person keeping your ‘do looking good, but you thought, “Maybe this new person will create this incredible new look?” I’ve heard it called a hair affair. Most woman have done this at least once. I know I have. I don’t know that I expect anything magical to happen but it’s fun to see what someone different has to offer. I have the same hair I’ve always had, maybe not quite the color I was born with or the color it has changed to, but still the same hair. Remember Jennifer Aniston and her ‘Friends’ hairstyle, the Rachel? Everyone wanted that look. I knew there was not a stylist on the planet who could coax that look from my hair but, maybe? The thing is, if you go back to your original stylist, she knows you went somewhere else. I asked Paula, the boss of my hair, a while ago how she felt about it if that happened t ... read more

Kevin's Car

Kevin, our go-to I.T. person is also a customer. He called because he was having immediate car issues. A while ago, I was having immediate I.T. issues and called Kevin. He had his young son Paul with him but came to the shop to fix the problem. I gladly entertained Paul while Kevin worked to diagnose and fix our computer issue. Kevin’s vehicle was towed in to be diagnosed and repaired. Paul, in the meantime, was worried about his Dad’s car. Kevin told him it was at Miss Debbie’s shop to be looked at. Kevin later told me that Paul said, “Miss Debbie will fix your car.” He had every confidence the vehicle was in good hands with Miss Debbie. While I love the fact that Paul believes I have the ability to fix cars, I do not. We are lucky to have a gifted and well-trained staff. They are the ones that diagnose, repair and maintain all of our customer’s vehicles. I work on the business and customer service side and understand a lot about automotive repairs but I’m not a technician… all. R ... read more

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