Shop View: Christian Brothers Automotive, Happy Valley

May 2, 2022

The 10-bay, 5,000-square-foot shop uses familiar architecture to match the landscape of its surrounding area. 

Christian Brothers Automotive, Happy Valley  

  • Owner: Matt Hunter
  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Staff Size: 13
  • Shop Size: 5,000 square feet
  • Number of Bays: 10
  • Average Monthly Car Count: 507
  • Annual Revenue ($): $3 million

A Bird’s Eye View

When Christian Brothers Automotive chooses a location for its shops, it uses a deliberate formula that has been successful time and again—broker relationships. The company leans on experts within the market to qualify the location first. 

“Any market we’re looking to grow, whether a brand new market or existing market, we have relationships with brokers in the market,” says Brad Fink, vice president of Training and Franchise Development. 

For this location, they used their standard two-pronged approach of gathering real estate data about the location, like frontage and drive-by traffic counts, as well as customer demographics within a 3-mile radius. 

Once they knew the location checked all the boxes, they spent two hours in a helicopter observing real-time traffic patterns during non-rush hour time and viewing existing neighborhoods and surrounding commercial development from overhead.

“This was one we saw from the air and it was love at first sight,” says Fink.

Once all of the variables were met, the shop was built. This location has been in existence for three years.

Adding Local Flare

Fink says the shop is designed to look like the neighborhood it serves. The goal of the shop isn’t to stand out aesthetically, but to fit in. In Happy Valley, this means embodying the typical Arizona high-desert feel: Spanish tile roof, stone-stucco combo on the sides. Parking is also something they take heavily into consideration with the shop. Christian Brothers Automotive, Happy Valley has 30 parking spots. 

Hospitality Suite

Customers of the shop will find the lobby is decorated to give the vibe of high-end hotel lobby chic—complete with wood-like tile floor, crown molding, high-end leather furniture, coffee tables, plants, coffee, and snacks. The lobby and work area is about 1,000 square feet of mostly open space. 

“We wanted to increase the amount of trust and transparency we gave our customers. So our lobby doesn’t have a front counter to create more of an open feel. Our team members work behind kiosks so our guests can see more of us,” says Fink.

Guests, however, typically don’t wait in the lobby for long. Once they’ve dropped their car off to be serviced, they get a ride from a friend, or have the ability to hop a ride in a Christian Brothers Automotive shuttle vehicle that’s available to take customers home, to school, to work, or to the grocery store. 

Keeping Techs at Bay

Christian Brothers moved away from painted shop floors, which chipped and needed to be redone every so often, and now use acid-washed concrete floors. These floors are durable, stay clean with plain water, and are easy to maintain. The shop has 10 bays, and each technician has their toolboxes right at their bays, never more than six feet away. The shop provides every tech’s tools so they can focus on being efficient and getting customers through the bay.

About the Author

Chris Jones | Editor

Chris Jones is the editor of Ratchet+Wrench magazine and host of its companion podcast, Ratchet+Wrench Radio, a weekly show featuring automotive professionals across the auto care landscape.

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