Honesty is goal of new auto shop
June 20, 2007
Sasha St. Clair worked on a pit crew during his younger days in Australia.
Each member had a responsibility. They were equally counted on for the safety and success of the driver, and being part of a competitive racing team cemented his belief in the importance of teamwork.
But there is one more quality that St. Clair said was more important than merely teamwork.
"They have to like each other too," St. Clair said with a thick Australian accent. "I learned that from all of my life experience."
St. Clair, on the other hand, wasn’t talking about a current racing team. He was referring to his mechanic team of Poncho Hernandez and Josh Parks that make up Auto Service Centre of Park City.
"It’s important that these guys work together," St. Clair continued. "It’s like that for any job in any work environment. They have to help each other and be considerate because they want to."
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Auto Service Centre of Park City replaced Ken’s Automotive. St. Clair took ownership three months ago. The business does lube and filter work, transmission, engine rebuilding, tires and even works on the occasional boat.
"We literally do anything and everything," St. Clair said.
The first priority St. Clair wants to accomplish is trust among future and existing clients.
"We show customers what’s wrong with their vehicle, and we want them to know and understand so they don’t feel like they are getting ripped off," St. Clair said.
The mechanic industry, he said, has a bad reputation.
"It has a reputation of saying, ‘You need this, when you don’t need it.’ I don’t believe in that. The reputation of mechanics is really bad that way. We will show them what’s necessary," St. Clair said.
Honesty is what business is all about, St. Clair said.
"Both of my guys will show the customers exactly what’s wrong. It’s the most important thing," he said.
Aside from teamwork and liking each other, a natural ability and a love for the work also makes a good mechanic, according to St. Clair.
"You got to have a natural mechanical aptitude," St. Clair said.
That’s one reason he hired Parks.
"I like to take stuff apart and put it back together," Parks said.
Parks learned his trade at the Baran Institute of Technology in Connecticut.
"He’s not a shady-tree mechanic," St. Clair said.
Coming from Australia, this is the kind of mechanic St. Clair is used to. He said to become a mechanic in America all one needs is a wrench and a garage.
"In Australia, you have to go through a course, go to school and learn how cars operate," St. Clair said.
Parks went to school as a mechanic partly because he liked the work and he didn’t want to do anything else.
"I thought, ‘I might as well learn about cars,’ and I started with a tiny tool box." Parks said.
Plus, he knew there would always be work.
"If you are a funeral worker, a mortician or a mechanic, you’ll always be guaranteed work," St. Clair said.
Parks worked in the industry for about six years before moving to Park City in October to satisfy his snowboarding addiction.
His philosophy is in tune with St. Clair’s.
"A lot of people think they are getting ripped off. I just want to make people happy," Parks said.
Hernandez has been working as a mechanic in Park City for the last 12 years. He’s one of few Latino mechanics in the area.
"I don’t know of any other (Latino) mechanics here," Hernandez said.
St. Clair said Hernandez is key component of the team, especially so his business can reach the Spanish-speaking demographic. Parks said 50 percent of their clients speak primarily Spanish.
"The Spanish people come in here for the language or service," Hernandez said. "Every time, they say, ‘Thanks for fixing my car.’"
Poncho was trained as an electrician and learned by trial and error how to fix cars. Now, according to St. Clair, he is the expert on transmissions and clutches.
"I like all mechanic work, all the cars" Hernandez said. "I can fix everything."
St. Clair is still looking for another mechanic but he’s happy with the team he has so far.
"I’ve got two good guys that both believe the same way I do go out of your way to help the customer," St. Clair added. "Trying to find good mechanics is next to impossible."
Auto Service Centre of Park City is located at 3844 North U.S. 40, along the frontage road near Park City Towing. For more information, call 655-9227.