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Now browsing: Hometown News > Business & Finance > Volusia County

Auto repairman works way up to owner and still going forward
Rating: 3 / 5 (19 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Nov 16 - 06:02



By Richard Mundy

For Hometown News



The Marine Corps says it just needs a "few good men." At Daytona's A-1 Expert Auto Repair you'll find one of those "good men."

Chris Fletcher has been an auto mechanic for a number of years. When he applied at A-1 Auto Repair in 1994, the owner gave him something simple to do as a test. Mr. Fletcher told him he "didn't want to do that; give me something hard. In fact give me every hard car that comes through the door."

It obviously worked, because 12 years later he bought the business from the original owner. Mr. Fletcher has "paid his dues" by modernizing the shop with new equipment and taking as many classes as were available. He employs six men he describes as "well rounded." Of course they each have certain specialties, and he still believes in keeping up to date with training courses, which he provides for his mechanics.

Basically the shop can perform general automotive repair on all types of vehicles. "On a lot of newer (cars) we do air conditioning, air rides, anti-lock brakes and fuel injection." Mr. Fletcher explained.

Continuing education and diagnostic equipment are the hallmarks of his business, he said. The shop uses "scan tools," computer-driven apparatuses that diagnose problems in a specific range of vehicles. He said he might be the only auto repair facility in town with a number of scan tools specific to particular makes.

"We try to stay as updated as possible," he said.

Mr. Fletcher also is a member of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school. The shop has an excellent reputation and so very little has changed (except for modernization) since he bought the business.

Another hallmark, and basis for the shop's reputation, is Mr. Fletcher's mechanics make every effort to fix something right the first time. Customers, of course, are more likely to tell their friends about A-1 and the service if they don't have to come back. And it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than find a new one.

Last year, A-1 moved from Holly Hill to Daytona Beach to a building four times larger than the previous garage. He also has managed to get contracts to be the sole supplier of auto repair and service for a host of local and state government agencies as well as companies with large fleets of vehicles.

When it comes to being one of those "few good men," Mr. Fletcher shared some examples of being a Good Samaritan. He has based his business on excellent service, tending to a customer's needs and as corny as it sounds, A-1 Expert Auto Repair is very definitely a garage with a heart.

As for retirement, Mr. Fletcher says, "I don't believe I could walk away from this unless I was sure it would be in good hands."

A-1 Expert Auto Repair is at 556 Mason Ave., Daytona Beach. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call (386) 258-7764, e-mail info@a-1expertauto.com or go online to www.a-1expertauto.com.

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