Meet Your Merchant: All Star Automotive — it’s all about customer service
All Star Automotive
10141 Evening Star Dr. #9
Hours: 7:30 A.m. To 5:30 P.m., Monday Through Friday.
Over the years, the Regional Occupation Program at Nevada Union High School, better known as ROP, has helped countless students graduate with a skill, trade or certification that has enabled them to land a job in a highly competitive market. Take Justin Nicholson, for example. He loved his auto mechanics class at NU, but he couldn’t have guessed how far those skills would take him.
“I learned a trade, got on-the-job training and high school credits all in one class,” he said. “By the time I graduated, I’d already had real life experience.”
Those early job skills paid off in more ways than one. Cindy, the girl Justin couldn’t stop looking at in his sophomore English class, became his wife shortly after graduation. And by the time they were 20, Cindy was pregnant.
After his first job at Plaza Tire, Justin landed a job at a large Auburn car dealership several years later. He worked his way up to become the parts and services director. But when the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, Justin shifted his focus and got a job as a supplier of chemicals for automotive cleaning. His work involved being on the road and selling products to automotive repair shops.
Eventually he got to know a shop owner in Grass Valley, who was ready to sell his auto repair business, and Justin jumped at the chance. In January of 2013, Justin bought All Star Automotive on Evening Star Drive in Grass Valley, and has never looked back.
“Three years ago, when we started, we made $180,000 in gross sales,” he said. “In 2015 we’re at $600,000 and are hoping for $700,000 this year. I started with two employees and now have seven.”
The secret to his epic growth? Customer service, he said.
“We know how to solve problems — we’ve never had a complaint we haven’t solved,” he said. “We serve about 2,000 customers a year.”
In the beginning, Justin and Cindy spent hours calling every customer to get their feedback — to learn what worked and what changes needed to be made. But as their customer base grew they were forced to hire a “review company,” which continues to provide valuable feedback, said Justin.
The certified staff at All Star Automotive works on foreign, domestic and diesel engines. Longtime customers are familiar with their free WiFi and free shuttle, which can make a difference for those working full time. All Star is also known for supporting local sports teams, and serves as a year-round drop off location for The Cinderella Project.
“Fair prices are really important — we stay competitive,” Justin said. “But I tell my employees that a business can only be successful if customer service and trust is No. 1. We help our customers budget and prioritize repairs — we tell them what they need to fix now and what can wait a bit. We also educate them. But we can’t miss something — when you go off on vacation, your children, your spouse are in that car, it has to be safe. We do a 21-point inspection on every vehicle.”
The more Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification the staff at All Star get, the more they get paid, said Justin, which has resulted in a committed, highly trained and loyal staff.
There’s only one problem, said Justin. They’ve outgrown their current location and are hoping to move to a more spacious location with a larger waiting room and the square footage to bring in new equipment.
“Our customers are treated like friends,” he said. “My customers know that deep down I really care — you don’t see that in the corporate world.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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