Art Harris has owned Art’s Cedar Ridge Gas and Auto Repair in Grass Valley, CA, for 26 years and he takes pride in the customer service that his shop provides.
Below is the article as it appeared on TheUnion.com website.
Meet Your Merchant: Filling a niche in auto repair
Art’s a one-stop shop and Cedar Ridge community center
By Kyle Magin
On a beautiful afternoon in Cedar Ridge, Art Harris is holding court outside the service station with his name on it.
He has owned Art’s Cedar Ridge Gas and Auto Repair for 26 years, and the station services just about every transportation need.
A customer is just stopping by to ask Harris’ advice about horses, rather than horsepower. As both an equine enthusiast and automotive adept, he’s got the answers.
The native Tennessean’s accent is noticeable as he dispenses his knowledge.
That’s exactly the kind of customer service going so far as picking up snowbound customers for a ride in the wintertime that has kept area residents coming back to Art’s since Day 1 in 1984.
“Honestly, you do a good job, stand by your work, and the customers come back,” Harris said.
His wife, Bonnie Bridges, needled Harris a little bit about going above and beyond the call of duty for customers like when he transports some of his older female customers from their homes to hair appointments.
“Yeah,” he laughs, shaking his head. “They tell you it’s an appointment, and you think it’s something important.”
Harris ended up in California after a stint in the U.S. Navy landed him in the San Diego area. After tiring of Southern California, he took refuge in relatively quiet Nevada County and worked for several dealerships.
“I was working for dealerships and just wanted a more personal environment,” Harris said.
“There you pick up a car out front, work on it, and take it back out front. You don’t get to know the customer.”
Throughout the years, Harris has added staff and customers. When he bought out the station in 1984, Harris ran it with only one employee. Now he employs a team of six.
Working on today’s car is a “totally different ballgame,” Harris said.
“These guys are no longer mechanics,” he said. “They’re certified technicians, working on all the new computer and diagnostic systems.”
Despite the switch to modernity, the station still fills a niche in Nevada County, Bridges said.
“It’s the only full-service (gasoline) station in the county,” she said. “There’s more money in self-service, but we offer everything.”
The business is a one-stop shop, Harris said. He’s got what you need for your ride, even if it’s the sort of bronco with hooves instead of wheels.
To read this article on TheUnion.com website, visit http://www.theunion.com/article/20100419/MISC/100419753/1005&parentprofile=1053.