Experience driving Rock AutoPublished 6:30pm Sunday, May 23, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Scott Srmek knows cars.
“I’ve had a repair shop and an impromptu thing at my house for about 20 years probably,” Srmek said.
He’s also been working on cars as a technician for decades. Srmek began his career with Gurley Leep and for the last 12 years, he worked at a nearby Saturn dealership.
That job came to an end when the recent trouble in Detroit and the historic economic suffering felt at the each of the big three automakers resulted in the reconfiguration and loss of some makes and models and automobile lines.
In the wake of all those troubles, two things changed.
Many people are hanging on to their vehicles longer, opting to keep their cars running before running out to tie themselves to a car payment.
And Srmek found himself facing an open door of opportunity.
The Niles resident said after Saturn was slated for discontinuation, “at that point I decided it was time for me to go out on my own.
“Combine that with the fact that the economy’s down,” Srmek said, “and most people aren’t running out to get a new car payment any more and they’re considering hanging on to their cars longer — with that is going to be the need for more and more repairs.”
Rock Auto Service, located at 314 Fort Street is Srmek’s new business, an auto repair and service shop he’s moved from his home to a new location to help more people hang on to their cars even longer.
“I guess the thing that prompted me to do that was, many people wanted me to work on their car but I couldn’t get to it because I had a full time job and couldn’t find the time to get to it,” he said. “That pretty much prompted me … I didn’t have the ability to work on the cars at home.”
Srmek said he’s bringing a client base of 60 through the front doors of new shop and hopes to build on that with an ability to keep customers from having to wait too long to get moving again and with good honest service.
“Customer perception, first impression is very important,” Srmek said, something he learned from all of his experience working with a dealership. The shop is “very clean” he said with the intention to give customers a good impression when they walk through the door.
As a new small business owner, Srmek said he’s not too concerned with the issue of competition.
“I’m not at all,” he said. “There have been a couple other shops open here lately, I know that.”
Still he said he’s already seen customers come in who may not have been happy with the service they were getting at other shops.
And Srmek’s ready for new customers.
“I’m pretty well full service,” he said. “I do everything from transmission work on down including oil changes.”
And, he said, “if it’s ultra vehicle specific,” Srmek’s philosophy is the job has to be a win-win for him and the customer and if he can’t fix it — he’ll advise his customer to find someone who can.
“Fixing the cars is one thing,” he said. “But knowing how to fix it is a totally different thing.”
At Rock Auto Service, Srmek is a “one man band.”
“That’s also something I wanted to do. That way I can control what goes on. And sometimes being at the dealer, things would get lost in translation.”
Keeping that from happening with his own clients, he said, “is something that’s important to me.”
Rock Auto Service is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.