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Shop View: Pegoraro Auto Repair

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SHOP STATS: Pegoraro Auto Repair  Locations: Vancouver, Wash.  Operator: Joe Pegoraro  Average Monthly Car Count: 124  Total Staff Size:10  Shop Size: 6,000 sq. ft. Number of Bays: 6 Total Annual Revenue: $1.4 million  

Opportune Timing

For some, the chaos of 2020 brought new opportunity. Last spring Joe Pegoraro, owner of Pegoraro Auto Repair in Vancouver, Wash., had committed to growing his operation and was already working with an architect to draw up plans for a shop expansion when a gym in his same business complex called it quits. “We’d been trying to acquire space for a while and had finally decided to build up rather than out, when our landlord called with a deal on the gym space,” Pegoraro said. “We leapt at it.” Pegoraro wasted no time and set to work remodeling the space himself, while his team continued to work out of his original shop just across the alley.

Curate a Brand-Building Look

Pegoraro had a clear vision for the space from the get-go, with his sights set on a sleek, polished, Apple store-style look. “I was going for more of a bright, airy retail vibe. I wanted a look I can build a brand off of, so I hired a designer to help make sense of it.” In the lobby, he kept the walls bright, and installed recessed and flush mounted LED lights, metallic pendant lights, and a sculptural fan salvaged from a Tesla dealership as striking accents designed to create a wow-worthy first impression. Plush leather sofas were added and a refreshment bar was built to give customers a relaxing space to wait, but a pair of new service advisor cubicles may have been the biggest challenge. Pegoraro built them from plexiglass—a material that was hard to find as demand skyrocketed at the beginning of the pandemic. Despite delays, he was able to finish the work in just three months.

A Workfloor With Style

Pegoraro didn’t skimp back-of-house either. While he budgets regular spending for new shop equipment and upgrades, Pegoraro invested in a custom Challenger lift for the launch of the new space. He also extended the sleek look of the customer lounge to the shop workfloor where he team’s toolboxes have all been aligned on one wall for optimal workflow and the installation of high gloss cabinets on the other help keep the shop floor clean and tidy with plenty of space to stash odds and ends like brake pads and oil filters.

Optimized Shop Operations

With techs working across both shop floors throughout the remodel, Pegoraro and his team took the opportunity to tighten up team communication. The Pegoraro team uses walkie talkies and Autovitals to text and chat through progress reports throughout the day, but with the back doors of each shop located just across an alley from each other, the team also developed a system using dry erase markers and bins to deliver parts back and forth as deliveries arrive each day. “It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but the new flow was a good incentive for us to finally introduce Monday meetings,” says Pegoraro. “If nothing else, it’s only made our communication stronger.”

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