Shop View: Metropolitan Garage
SHOP STATS: Metropolitan Garage Location: Fairbanks, Alaska Owner: Rebecca and Steve Levey Average Monthly Car Count: ~300 Staff Size: 8 Full-time, 10 with seasonal help (3 service advisors, five master technicians, two seasonal tire technicians) Number of lifts: 7 Shop Size: 4,000 square feet Annual Revenue: $1.6 million
Repurposed Inside and Out
For a shop that originally opened in the owner’s actual home years ago, it’s only fitting that the team behind Metropolitan Garage in Fairbanks, Alaska, sought a homegrown feel for their next location.
Now housed in a former warehouse, the shop blends cozy touches with a mix of wood and steel elements inspired by the area’s natural landscape and tools of the repair trade, while unique hallmarks like the vintage parking meters that have been repurposed as quaint car plugins give the family-owned shop plenty of personality.
“We set out to bring a woodsy feel, with birch tree landscaping outdoors and wood beams inside, to the industrial area we’re in, which also inspired details like our rolled steel signage. It’s a reflection of the area and our community,” says co-owner Rebecca Levey.
In the wake of COVID-19, the shop immediately implemented safety measures like a key drop box and outdoor phones to facilitate socially distant and contactless pickups and drop offs. The shop also now offers fully digital inspections, sending customers a wide range of pictures to aid in communicating the issues at hand and work underway.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Eco-friendly initiatives are integrated in Metropolitan Garage’s everyday operations and are a core part of the shop’s work in the community.
“We recycle almost everything, and we’ve got very little waste in the building at any given time, but we’re also a member of Repair Cafe,” says Levey.
As a member of the organization, the shop hosts educational classes where Levey’s technicians help locals fix everything from toasters to lawn mowers in an effort to reuse and reduce waste.
The shop also grows an on-site flower and vegetable garden in its parking lot, offering the seasonal produce the team grows to customers and community hubs like the local retirement homes.
The shop’s community focus comes full circle in the lobby, where Levey works to hang work by local artists and host studio gatherings, utilizing the customer waiting area as a makeshift gallery.
“This business is all about forming strong relationships between our employees and our customers and our community and anything we can do to strengthen that bond is worth the effort,” says Levey. “Getting a chance to create that visibility and bring everyone together through that work and with our business is the most rewarding part. That’s what we’re all about.”