New this year, AAA is recognizing the “best of the best” among its 7,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities that meet and maintain the highest of standards for the industry. The winners of the Best in Auto Repair award are among a select group representing the top tier in the automotive repair industry in North America. The four shops selected for 2020, one in each of four size categories, are all NAPA AutoCare Centers. The winners are:
- Sterling Car Care in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Extra-large Facility (13+ bays) •
- Kalona Auto Service & Parts, Kalona, Iowa, Large Facility ( 9-12 Bays)
- P&M Automotive, Salem, Oregon, Medium Facility (5-8 Bays)
- LG Automotive, Lake Villa, Illinois, Small Facility (1-4 Bays)
Jason Rainey, Vice President of NAPA AutoCare said, “The fact that dual-enrolled AAA/NAPA AutoCare Centers won all four categories speaks volumes on the success shops see when they partner with both brands. These four operators have gone the extra mile to keep their staff trained, perform high quality service for their customers, and have demonstrated a commitment to their communities. We could not be more proud to have these four businesses as members of both the AAA and NAPA AutoCare program. “
Committed to the Highest Standards
“AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities already adhere to the strictest of standards as set forth by AAA,” said Jim Sennett, National Manager AAA Automotive Repair Program. “And now by winning the 2020 AAA Best in Repair award, these four facilities have proven their unwavering commitment to being the best in the industry and more importantly, for their customers.”
Shops across the country were nominated based on certain criteria, including maintaining all AAA Approved Auto Repair program standards and requirements, keeping a customer satisfaction of 95% or higher, and exhibiting a commitment to their communities and the industry.
To earn the AAA Approved Auto Repair designation, shops must undergo a series of inspections performed by a AAA service specialist. These individuals hold the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification or original equipment manufacturer equivalent and have an extensive background in their field. Facilities are inspected for cleanliness, proper tools, adequate technical training, and appropriate technician certifications. AAA also vets the shop’s reputation by checking with government and consumer agencies, performing an insurance/financial background check, and surveying existing customer satisfaction.
Sterling Car Care
“We are honored to receive the AAA Best in Repair award this year,” said Mike Parrott, owner of Sterling Car Care. “This award reflects the promise we’ve made to our customers to always provide extraordinary repair service that is fairly priced and delivered by technicians they can trust.”
Sterling Car Care has been in business more than 40 years, has participated in the AAR program for 16 years, and has been a NAPA AutoCare Center even longer. Collectively, Sterling’s technicians have over 200 years of experience in both domestic and foreign auto repair, truck, and diesel. The shop offers bumper-to-bumper repairs on passenger cars through medium duty trucks for fleet service and CSX customers as well as local cable companies. Sterling combines experience with state- of-the-art equipment and technical aptitude to provide an unmatched experience for their customers.
Parrott said being a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop as well as a member of the NAPA family sets Sterling Car Care apart from the crowd. “We put many of the AutoCare programs to work here. For example, the Nationwide Warranty is a big deal for us. People trust AAA as well as NAPA for automotive service, so whether a motorist is visiting our area or our customers are traveling, they know NAPA’s Peace of Mind warranty program has them covered.”
As an AutoCare Center owner, Parrott has served as president of the local Business Development Group, and said Sterling Car Care was one of the first AutoCare Centers in the area to take advantage of PROimage. He also offers the NAPA EasyPay card, and recently used AutoCare’s Job Align to find a new technician. “I was having no luck finding anyone, so I posted the job on Job Align. I received applications from four good candidates and ultimately hired a really good guy,” he said.
Jason Anderson, owner of P&M Automotive, said he didn’t know his local AAA Auto Club Group nominated his shop for the Best in Auto Repair award until he received the call telling him the shop had won. “I was unaware of our nomination but when I got that call, it was confirmation of the good and honest hard work we do here every day,” he said. “This is a very competitive industry and I believe we’ve been successful because we take care of our employees and our customers.”
Ian Lomax, a spokesperson for AAA— The Auto Club Group, wrote, “P&M is the prime example of customer service, trustworthy work, and a beautiful facility that accommodates members the second they step on the property. P&M has retained their employees for a very long time because of how they’re treated…like family. You can feel the calm, relaxing atmosphere when you walk in the door. Every employee is courteous, knowledgeable, and happy to help. When you think of the best, you think of P&M.”
This family-owned repair business started in 1975. In 1986, P&M became the service and towing contractor for AAA of Oregon/Idaho as well as a NAPA AutoCare Center. When AAA’s Approved Auto Repair program was introduced a year later, P&M was the first facility to receive that designation in the state of Oregon, making it one of the first shops to be enrolled in both the AAA and NAPA programs.
Owner Loren Gross opened LG Automotive in 2014. “I started as a Ford factory trained technician before going to an independent shop, and then opening LG Automotive,” he said. “This was a NAPA AutoCare Center from the start, and we joined the AAR program in 2015. We were named an Auto Club Group Top Shop in 2018 and 2019 before receiving the Best in Repair award for 2020.”
Customer service, quality, and honesty are the shop’s top priority, reflected in LG Automotive’s 99.1% CSI scoring and reviews. Gross also maintains a clean and attractive shop, offers convenient hours, as well as service and maintenance using the latest equipment including digital vehicle inspection which his customers appreciate. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” he said.
Gross is an ASE certified Senior Master Technician, receiving his first ASE certification more than 30 years ago. He is committed to ongoing education for all his employees and as an AutoCare Center takes advantage of the training NAPA offers. All of his employees are ASE certified. Like all AutoCare Center owners, Gross said NAPA’s nationwide warranty is important for his business since it gives both local residents and traveling motorists peace of mind.
Gross is committed to his community as well as the industry, supporting local youth sports teams whose pictures are proudly displayed in the waiting area.
Gross advertises his Best in Auto Repair status on the company’s social media pages. He said, “The AAA and NAPA brands are both well known and respected. That’s often what brings customers to our shop. And then we deliver a top-notch experience.”
As one customer wrote, “These people are amazing. Excellent work and honest. They deserve everyone’s business.”
Kalona Auto Service and Parts
At Kalona Auto Service the shop’s motto is there is no job too big or too small. Owner Alvin Kramer said, “As a family-owned business, we treat our customers like family and want them to feel they’ll always receive the best in service from us.”
That commitment to excellence is one of the reasons Kalona Auto Service and Parts was recognized by AAA with the Best in Auto Repair award. Kalona has been a leader in the community since 1988 and became a NAPA AutoCare Center in 1999. For the past seven years, the shop has also participated in the Approved Auto Repair program. “This additional AAA recognition has given us an opportunity to expand our customer base and grow our business even further,” said Kramer. “We are very honored to have been recognized with this award.
“We take advantage of many of the AutoCare programs including training from NAPA Autotech and DVI from AutoVitals. Both of those help us provide our customers with the highest quality repairs and service.”
According to Kramer, “Gaining trust and exceeding customers’ expectations is at the heart of our organization. We strive to be a leading example in the auto repair industry and continue to support our local community.”
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.