AutoCraft on Sprague Avenue has been providing high-quality auto repair and maintenance since 1988. The business changed hands last June and has a new logo: "We want to be your ally for automotive repair."
By Mary Anne Ruddis
AutoCraft has been providing auto repair service in the Spokane Valley since 1988. With its local roots, the family owned operation continues that tradition with a new owner, Miles Vierck. He and his wife Tayler took the reins from Dave Jeffries last June.
Vierck was not a stranger to the auto repair business. His father owns an auto repair shop in Portland, Oregon and Vierck was practically raised in the industry, growing up around his dad's shop. He worked as an apprentice technician for several years before moving to Spokane to attend school at Eastern Washington University.
After college, Vierck recognized what a treasure Spokane was and decided to stay. He went to work in the hospitality industry and worked for Best Western Hotels managing a few properties for about 10 years.
“I was at the point that I wanted to purchase a business,” Vierck says.
It was always a dream of the Viercks to work together in a family business. It eventually all worked out, thanks to a few connections. Jeffries and his father know each other and Vierck was a customer at AutoCraft for several years so when he learned of Jeffries plan to retire, it seemed a great opportunity and natural fit.
“We planned very carefully about how the transition would work,” Vierck says. “It was important to him to find the right buyer.”
Jeffries said he felt confident turning over the operation on East Sprague Avenue to someone like Vierck. “Miles came from an automotive family and he has a degree in business,” Jeffries said. “He is talented and when he approached me to buy the business, I knew he was the right person.”
The transition was extremely smooth.
Miles and Tayler Vierck are the new owners of AutoCraft in Spokane Valley, taking over from longtime owner Dave Jeffries last summer.
“We put together a plan for the transition and retaining the employees was one of our top priorities,” Vierck said. “Another priority was making sure the customers were comfortable with the transition.”
Vierck tries to meet all the customers and assure them that he is committed to the same excellent service and quality of work they have come to expect. He is also quick to give credit to his service advisors, Herb Templin and Chuck Jones, for helping to make customers feel comfortable and at ease with the new ownership.
“It really helps to have all the same technicians and the same service advisors,” Vierck said.
The continuity provides a source of comfort for the customers who have been coming in for years, Vierck points out. He wants customers to know they can place their trust in the shop and work. Integrity, honesty and a high level of service are important.
“We can show them failed parts, we can walk them out to the shop and show them their car from the underside,” he says. “We will tell them if something can wait. Sometimes new customers
will come in with estimates they received elsewhere and we will tell them, ‘Yes, that looks good,' or if not, we can give them an honest assessment. We also will do a full inspection for customers who are considering buying a car. It's not just about the bottom line, we want to retain customers.”
The shop offers courtesy shuttle rides that are not limited to a specific number of miles.
“Our philosophy is, if you're willing to make the drive to us, we'll make the drive for you,” Vierck said.
It was during one of these shuttle rides that Vierck came up with their new tagline. While giving an elderly long-term customer a ride, she remarked, “At my age, I feel like I need to have an ally to get my car worked on and that's you guys.”
The company's new motto is: “We want to be your ally for automotive repair.”
The shop's specialties are domestic and Japanese vehicles. They also specialize in hybrid vehicles.
”We do a lot of hybrids – we can rebuild the hybrid battery packs and rejuvenate them at a much lower cost that replacing the entire battery,” Vierck said. “We can do new batteries as well.”
To diversify and expand their customer base, the business is working to create a welcoming atmosphere for female customers who might not be as comfortable at auto repair shops. The upgrade includes making improvements to the waiting areas.
“Cleanliness is extremely important to us – the lobby, bathroom, the customer's car,” Vierck says.
“We vacuum every customer's car, wash the windows, we use floor mats, we always do a full walk-around the vehicle to check for any grease.”
The business is also reaching out to Milliennials by ramping up social media advertising along with their traditional marketing to reach a new demographic that may not have been aware of them in the past. You can find them on Facebook at AutoCraft and on Instagram at AutoCraftSpokane. They also use an AutoCraft hashtag – #AutoCraftCares.
“Dave built an extremely reputable business and I feel honored to be able to carry on his legacy,” Vierck said. “That's my goal as well as continue to grow it.”
AutoCraft is located at 16911 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley. To learn more, go to www.autocraftspokane.com or call us.