Showcase: Al Serra Auto Plaza
Stats SHOP: BODY SHOP AT AL SERRA AUTO PLAZA LOCATION: GRAND BLANC, MICH. FIXED OPERATIONS MANAGER: DAVE GARR DEALERSHIP STAFF SIZE: 458 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 800 (collision only) ANNUAL REVENUE: $7 MILLION (collision only)
At the Al Serra Auto Plaza in eastern Michigan, the company motto is, “one destination, so many choices.” And, indeed, the facility’s fixed operations can provide work on virtually all makes and models at the expansive auto plaza, which comprises nine buildings that serve as neighbors to each other.
Visitors to Grand Blanc are greeted promptly at the Auto Plaza, and soon presented with cafe amenities, like donuts and sandwiches, in spotless customer waiting areas. And, full multi-point inspections are performed on all customer vehicles, which, according to fixed operations manager Dave Garr, “relieves a lot of stress for the customer.”
In recent years, Al Serra has counted a few employees among its 110 total technicians who have worked for the company for over three decades. And Garr proudly notes that one of the dealership’s painters has been with the company for 42 years.
And, the dealership empowers its trusted employees to be proactive to keep customers happy, which Garr feels aids in client retention—a key ingredient, he notes, to keep sales figures lofty, and customer service scores around 98 percent.
SIZABLE BODY SHOP
Al Serra features the largest body shop in the state of Michigan, according to Garr; the three dedicated body shop spaces add up to 40,000 combined square feet. The collision repair center churned out $1.3 million of business in February 2018 alone. Garr feels strongly that he works alongside the best body technicians and painters in the industry, calling their quality “unmatched.”
Garr works hard to make sure that each technician under his employ is certified via manufacturers, I-CAR, and ASE.
RARE WELDING EQUIPMENT
The Michigan company, which is aluminum certified, invested six figures over the past year in aluminum repair-related equipment. Included in that laundry list of innovative equipment was a nitrogen plastic welder, which lends to quicker repairs. That way, if Al Serra employees are presented with a torn bumper cover, for example, they can fairly easily weld it back to factory specifications. While a standard welder might take roughly an hour to set properly during such a repair, the new nitro welder can have things cooled off in about five minutes, Garr says.
“We pride ourselves on providing workers with top quality, innovative equipment,” he says.