Shop View: McNeil’s Auto Care
STATISTICS OF THE STORE: McNeil’s NAPA Autocare Site: Sandy, Utah Owner: Pete mcneil Staff size: 15 Shop size: 11,000 square feet Number of bays: 16 Average monthly number of cars: 475 ARO: $ 490 Annual revenue: $ 2.6 million
A new look
McNeil’s Auto Care moved to its premises in Sandy, Utah, in 1999. The business, started by Mike McNeil, is now operated by his son Pete. Since 1999, the boutique has undergone two renovations, first in the early 2000s with a terracotta design, then towards a more modern look in 2016.
One of the reasons for the most recent renovation was to reconnect with customers. In the previous configuration, a large circular table separated the advisers from the clients. The table has been scrapped, with several podium counters set up, allowing advisors to come out, greet clients, and feel more accessible. The store has been brightened up with modern touches including a swirled epoxy floor. The store also featured classic vehicles, which are renewed in the showroom approximately every 45 days.
“It’s a fun and unique showroom,” says Pete McNeil.
The remodel was also aimed at serving a demographic that McNeil felt the store overlooked: Moms. The store now has two waiting rooms, one that serves as a working space and another to relax. It also has a children’s play area, wifi and free food and drinks.
Even though the store has started to focus on fast service, McNeil receives a lot of feedback from moms who stay while the car is being repaired.
“We like to focus on the family, but we have wrongly neglected the mother. Not anymore, ”he said.
As a store owner, McNeil started and recently sold a software company that worked in digital signage. As you would expect, digital signage is present throughout the lobby and waiting rooms.
Running on TVs in the waiting room, the company loops various community announcements, happy birthday messages to customers, auto repair facts and other company marketing. It is not uncommon for customers to ask questions about certain services that appear on digital signage and have provided the store with a non-intrusive means of marketing. Customers also enjoy highlighting community events, which McNeil is passionate about.
Mix local and national
It was and continues to be a priority for Mike and now Pat to have a bigger brand that the store can align with for more credibility. Outside the store, the NAPA brand is clearly displayed right next to McNeil’s brand. For McNeil, it strikes the perfect balance. Customers who want a national brand, McNeil’s offers it through its NAPA partnership. For customers who want a local feel, the McNeil’s brand offers a trusted, long-standing family business in which they can find solace. McNeil said the partnership initially helped attract customers. Then, the McNeil brand sets in and helps to seduce the customer.
“I still believe McNeil’s is the primary brand,” McNeil said. But NAPA is a key partner and I also think you need to have a partner to fully exhaust your potential.