Inside Christian Brothers Automotive
Photo by Nick Spaeth
SHOP: Christian Brothers Automotive LOCATION: Andover, Minn. OWNER: Dan and Ginger Anderson
SIZE: 5,000 square feet STAFF: 7 (3 techs, 2 service managers, 2 managers) MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 240
ANNUAL REVENUE: $1 million (projected)
1) “Someone once described it by saying it looks more like a New England cottage with a nine-car garage than a shop,” Dan Anderson, owner of Christian Brothers Automotive, says when describing his Andover, Minn., Christian Brothers franchise. Dan and his wife, Ginger, co-own the shop, and they want the experience of coming to Christian Brothers to feel like coming home, rather than going to a stereotypical garage. From the inside out, the shop reflects that feeling. The exterior was intentionally designed to resemble a house from the high roof to the brick-paved entryway and to the welcoming wreath on the door, which changes from season to season.
2) There are no signs that you are in a service center once you walk into the waiting area. No posters, shock absorbers or windshield wipers visable to give it away—only hardwood floors, plants, an Oriental rug and framed paintings. Although they have plenty of decorations, there is one noticeable element missing: There is no TV. The Andersons made this conscious decision because, as Dan puts it, “There’s nothing worth watching on TV during the day!”
Dan says that most people bring their electronics and are welcome to use the free WiFi, or they can browse the wide variety of magazines the shop makes available. If a customer is thirsty or hungry, Dan and Ginger also have a Keurig machine to make hot chocolate, cider and a variety of coffees. Kids are treated to juice boxes and yogurt snacks, and Ginger is more than happy to help entertain them with puzzles, Legos and Butterfly Bingo. Ginger also makes sure that there are no missing puzzle pieces or outdated games.
3) While there is plenty to do while waiting, Dan says that most customers don’t wait for their vehicle. Dan and Ginger personally take customers anywhere they might need to go in their Christian Brothers–branded shuttle:from work, to school, shopping or even the movie theatre across the street. The driving time gives the Andersons the opportunity to connect with their customers.
4) The facility’s three technicians keep the shop floor immaculately clean. Spills of any sort are cleaned up right away before the next job. Customers are more than welcome out on the floor because the cleanliness is a top priority for everyone working in the shop. The shop has nine bays and an alignment rack (it offers free alignments to customers), and its glass doors help keep the area bright and welcoming.
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