Shop Owner Spotlight
Autostream Car Care
OWNER, AUTOSTREAM CAR CARE →
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
WHAT IS YOUR NAME AND JOB TITLE?
Doug Grills, Owner, AutoStream Car Care
WHERE IS YOUR SHOP LOCATED?
We have 9 locations in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, stretching from Montgomery County, outside Washington DC, all the way over to Anne Arundel County in Annapolis. The bulk of our locations are in the Baltimore metro area.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR SHOP.
AutoStream Car Care has been in business for 24 years. We operate full service automotive maintenance and repair facilities, working on all makes and models, both foreign and domestic. We employ ASE certified technicians and we are AAA and Repair Pal certified. We have over 4,369 online reviews and our average rating is 4.8 stars (out of 5).
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOU AND/OR YOUR SHOP?
Myself, Rick Levitan, the other owner, and David Askwith, our Managing Director, had no automotive experience when we started our business 24 years ago. 70% of all shop owners started as technicians working in the bays. Most of the rest come from the front sales counters in the stores. We had never worked on cars in the shop, or serving customers on the front counter, prior to starting our company.
WHAT IS YOUR BUCKET LIST ROAD TRIP?
As much as I love cars, I generally prefer to fly to most of the destinations on my bucket list!
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE AAPEX SHOW?
Yes, many times.
IF THE ANSWER IS YES TO THE ABOVE QUESTION, WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST BENEFICIAL? ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE?
The number one thing for me is networking with industry peers and leaders, having the opportunity to talk about changes affecting our business, different strategies we are pursuing, and spending time with others and our amazing industry. The educational sessions would be a very close second.
WILL YOU BE ATTENDING AAPEX 2023? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Absolutely. I make it a priority to try to attend every year.
WILL ANY OF YOUR STAFF BE ATTENDING?
Yes, we will have our managing director and other key leaders in the company attend.
DO YOU RECEIVE THE AAPEX NEWSLETTER? IF YES, DO YOU READ IT?
Yes, I receive the AAPEX newsletter and read content or features about the upcoming show.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY THE BIGGEST ISSUE THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET IS FACING?
One of the biggest challenges facing our business is the shrinking number of qualified technicians available to work in our shops. We need to create pathways for interested individuals to find a career with us working on cars.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOUR SHOP HAS FACED OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS?
We place a lot of emphasis on providing training to our technicians and front counter people, keeping them abreast of the latest developments and technologies affecting automobiles and our industry.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET?
I think the automotive aftermarket ‘s future is very bright. Cars on the road today have a higher average age than ever before, creating tremendous opportunity for those who want to provide maintenance and services for these vehicles.
WHAT EMERGING TECHNOLOGY OR INDUSTRY TREND WITHIN THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
There have been great advances in online training and other technical resources that are making an enormous impact on our day-to-day operations. We have access to more information than at anytime in our history. We have to make sure that we will continue to have access to the repair data needed to keep those of us in the aftermarket informed, capable and competitive.
IF YOU COULD GIVE OTHER SHOP OWNERS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Always try to raise the level of your execution and professionalism. Create welcoming and inviting environments for your customers. Raising the bar at your location helps everyone in our industry by elevating the profile of our businesses in the communities where we work and live.
WHAT ADVANCEMENTS CAN EV BRING TO THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET?
EVs represent a growing and important segment of the automotive aftermarket. We must avail ourselves of the training and safe handling procedures required to service these vehicles. Being ahead of the curve and understanding these newer technologies will better prepare us for the challenges and opportunities that EV’s will bring us in the future.
HOW DO EV ISSUES AFFECT YOUR SHOP?
EVs have not reached critical mass yet in the markets that we serve, and many of their owners still deal with the OEM’s for their maintenance and service. We perform a limited number of services on these vehicles but that will be changing in the not too distant future.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EV IN THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET?
EVs will comprise a growing segment of aftermarket automotive maintenance and repair. We will all need to be prepared to have the training and equipment necessary to provide quality service and satisfaction to these customers. We have every confidence that we will be able to deliver a robust and rewarding experience to them. We’re excited about and looking forward to the opportunity that EVs represent.
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