Shop Look: Express Car Care Center
SHOP: Express Car Care Center LOCATION: Sinking Spring, Pa. OWNER: Steve Liptock SIZE: 2 quick lube bays; additional repair bays STAFF SIZE: 4 AVERAGE TICKET: $78
Full Service, Quick Options
Steve Liptock is the third owner of the business and building, which started life as an Atlantic filling station through the middle of the last century. It has always been locally owned and operated.
“At one point, they pulled the (gasoline) tanks out and the oil pits were put in,” he says. “That was around ‘84.”
Liptock and his team took over in 2007, and he’s been keeping the operation sharp since then. The shop is laid out nicely with three full-service bays on one end and two drive-through quick lube bays on the other end of the building.
Not only does the layout work well for both service areas, but the oil change business helps introduce customers to the repair side.
“We try to bring work in, as with any full time shop you get an oil change customer and try to get work off that car,” Liptock says.
Liptock and his team have invested a lot into the building to refresh its look and feel. The interior, for example, needed additional updates and amenities to cater more to the automotive service customer. For some time, it was still set up like a filling station.
“We did inside painting, countertops,” Liptock says. “We redid the whole waiting room with lounge chairs and tv room.”
Some of the most dramatic changes went into the exterior. The shop was able to take advantage of some remodeling grants for businesses along the main road. Those funds, as well as their own investments, updated the building from top to bottom. They replaced the roof, updated the paint and trim, landscaped, and got a new sign with a logo.
“We just wanted something modern but also retro, so we came up with the car logo and the red and blue colors,” Liptock says.
Tens of thousands of dollars went into big-ticket upgrades like bay doors and signage.
Liptock says he’s seen some big box shops come into the market. He says it’s becoming a competitive area. But he’s proud to have a prominent main street spot for the locally owned business.
“We have great frontage. People drive by here,” he says. “The signage from what we have out front attracts customers.”
The shop position on Highway 422 is the main way to get in or out of town, and the nearby intersection is among the busiest in the region. So the investments made into the building’s curb appeal are seen by thousands of drivers each day.
Even in a more competitive market, Liptock says one of his best customer service assets is himself. He’s at the shop most days,and customers like to come in and see that local connection.
“People want to come in, see the owner, talk to the owner,” he says.