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Auto repair shop thrives on good service

PACC Automotive has found success by cultivating a strong base of loyal clientele

Posted: March 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Dan Carpenter first opened his Santa Clarita automotive service in October 1988, specializing in the repair of Honda and Acura vehicles.

Now, 24 years later, Carpenter steadily has built PACC Automotive’s business, and reputation, by fixing up all makes and models of foreign and domestic vehicles.

He credits the success of his business over the last two-plus decades to good timing and a solid reputation.

Having worked in Santa Clarita, Carpenter said he already knew a number of people who lived in the city when he first opened his business. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, Carpenter selected Santa Clarita because, at the time, there were no independent Honda specialists, he said.

PACC Automotive’s strategy was to give customers better service than they could get at the dealerships — and better pricing, too, Carpenter said.

"It was all timing," he said. "We got in on the ground floor and we grew with it."

Carpenter eventually moved to Santa Clarita and grew his one-man operation to the 14 employees he has today. Most of the group came from other dealerships, he said.

"People liked the service and quality of our work," Carpenter said. "We’re a full-service repair shop. Minus body work, we’ll take care of anything for you."

Reputation is what helped PACC Automotive weather the storm of the Great Recession, he said. He managed to maintain a good level of business in a bad economy because he had a strong base of loyal clientele, he said.

"When the economy went bad," Carpenter said, "you had to be good to survive."

When economy was good, he said, PACC Automotive sometimes lost work because customers preferred to buy another car than pay to have their existing vehicle repaired, he said.

"In 2006, a customer’s car needed brakes and rotors to the tune of about $450," Carpenter said. "Instead, the guy said he wouldn’t put any money into the car, and went across the street to a dealer to buy a new car."

That all changed with the recession.

"People couldn’t afford new cars. People began spending $2,000 to $3,000 on fixing their cars," Carpenter said. "It was cheaper to repair one than to spend $30,000 on a new on car.

And PACC Automotive keeps its customers coming in by matching many of the services dealers offer, such as a free shuttle service, he said.

"And, as of the first of the year, PACC Automotive increased the guarantee on its work to a two-year, 24,000-mile warranty," Carpenter said.



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