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Plano Star Courier
Sunday,February 25, 1996
Progress 96 Issue
The Auto Shop Takes Top Satisfaction Ratings
The Auto shop in Plano got a lift from the American automobile Association recently.

The Texas division of AAA presented the automotive repair shop with a certificate of achievement for receiving a 100 percent satisfaction rating from all it's customers.

The certificate of service presented by AAA is part of a new service that identifies top-notch automotive repair shops called Approved Auto Repair. The program sets guidelines for members, including annual reviews of services and verification that all mechanics are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

"To achieve this level of service is very difficult," said Kim Cash of AAA. "So many people walk away from repair shops with a bad feeling because they think they have overpaid or don't think the problem was even fixed."

But The Auto Shop, located on the Southeast corner of Plano Parkway and Jupiter Road, has made a habit of providing competent, reliable service, according to customers. In addition to recognition by AAA an annual survey of Plano businesses has named the repair shop the No. 1 car repair company the last for years.

"This (recognition by AAA) just means that we have to work harder," said Jerry Kezhaya, who started the auto center 15 years ago.

Since that time, The Auto Shop has had four different homes. The current, 35,000 square-foot facility houses 63 work bays, an in-house parts department and a $65,000 alignment center.

"A long time ago, I decided that I loved being a part of this industry," Kezhaya said. "And I decided that I want to stay in it for awhile. For me to do that my business has to keep growing."

And grown it has. Kezhaya, who learned about cars as a child at his father's repair shop in Detroit, estimates his company has grown between 30 percent and 50 percent annually since 1990. The Auto Shop opened in Chisholm Plaza in a 3,500-square-foot facility in 1981.

The space quickly grew cramped, so Kezhaya moved to a 12,000-square-foot space along Central Expressway before relocating again - this time to the corner of Summit Avenue and Jupiter Road. Before long, The Auto Shop even grew to big for the 15,400-square-foot building.

Two years ago, Kezhaya found The Auto Shop's current home on Plano Parkway. But doesn't think it's going to satisfy the growing needs of his company for long.

Plans have already been laid for the construction of a new building just down the street on a vacant, four-acre plot west of Jupiter.

"You either get big or you go away," Kezhaya said. Besides being big, Kezhaya wants his company to be efficient and not bothered by fancy cars with fancy computer systems.

"We have all the state-of-the-art computer and diagnostic equipment available," Kezhaya said. "We have to because cars are so complicated these days. If a car is loaded with computers, it's going to take that kind of equipment to fix the problem. We put all our profits back into the company."

Laureen London turned to The Auto Shop after the dealer who sold her a Chevrolet Suburban could not find what was causing the engine to miss. The truck had been wrecked, all repairs had been made, and everything was back to new except the engine.

"Mechanics at the dealership could not fix the problem," London said.

"They actually tried to talk me into buying another truck, because they said mine was running as good as it ever would," London said.

After a number of futile attempts by dealership mechanics to fix the problem, London told her insurance company that she was tired of getting the runaround.

When she took the truck to Kezhaya's shop, technicians began hooking up computer trouble shooters and expensive equipment to the engine and quickly found the problem: a faulty distributor cap, which is an easy problem to identify and fix, Kezhaya said.

"High-tech equipment is essential to being in business today, but sometimes it just takes some common sense," he said. "You have to listen to the customer."

Apparently, that's something The Auto Shop has been doing a lot of these last few years.

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