DuFresne’s Auto Service owner emphasizes proper repair, not the lowest price
Portland, Ore.—Nancy Scheewe has co-owned DuFresne’s Auto Service since 1968, and became sole owner in 1995. Located off the beaten path south of Portland, the family-operated facility services the local need for latte as well as service and repair of their vehicle. Being the local coffee stop is just one way the ladies at DuFresne’s keep customers coming through the door, Scheewe said.
“I love what I do and I love the people,” Scheewe said. “Customers come by for coffee and just to say, ‘Hi.’ People have been coming here for their coffee for years. Customers, delivery drivers, mail man, we get them all. The coffee shop is a great way to get new people through our doors. Customer Service Representative Gina Gattuccio doubles as our barista,” she said.
The last of four Shell stations co-owned by Scheewe became DuFresne’s when the oil company pulled out of the area, she said. The facility sits on one-third acre and has five bays and five lifts. Scheewe employs four technicians, a service writer, a customer service rep, and daughter Tee DuFresne as its full-time marketing manager.
“We always have some sort of promotion for service customers,” DuFresne said. “Movie tickets for referrals, dart throws, rock-em sockems, we want them to enjoy the experience, and it’s fun for all of us. Right now when customers pick up their car, we have them throw darts for a chance to win as much as $500 in free service. We had one lady come in and win $500 and her husband was so thrilled he took her out to celebrate.”
Awarding mocha to a customer is one thing, providing a quality repair is another. DuFresne’s is an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility and won the AAA customer satisfaction award in 2006, Scheewe said. “We have a great group of techs and they do a fantastic job for our customers.”
The shop provides service for all makes and models with technicians who have OE certifications and ASE Master L1 status. “Gerry Reed is our ASE Master Technician,” Scheewe said. “Our staff of four technicians holds a variety of factory certifications including Honda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.”
“Our emphasis is providing a proper repair, not the lowest price. It always has been that way and always will be,” Scheewe said. “In many ways we are responsible for the safety of our customers and their kids. It would be wrong to cut corners on the work we do or the parts we use. Customers expect a quality repair using quality parts.”
To maintain proficiency, technicians continually update their training. “WORLDPAC, Automotive Products, and Beaverton Auto Parts NAPA are our primary resources for training as well as parts,” Scheewe said. “Tracy Fitch at WORLDPAC, Sid Sulkow of Automotive Products, and Brad Showers from Beaverton Auto Parts NAPA have all been extremely helpful to our business and keeping our staff trained.”
DuFresne’s uses a variety of scan tools and diagnostic testing equipment from Master Tech, Drew Tech, Bosch, Genesis, OTC, and others, she said. The shop has also benefitted from the installation of a new Hunter Hawkeye alignment rack. “We can do an alignment in just a few minutes, including printouts of before and after for the customers,” Service Writer Steve Lund said. “The new Hunter system is just what we needed and so easy to use.”
Having started her automotive experience as a bookkeeper for a chain of gas stations, Scheewe still keeps her eye on the numbers. “Tee and I come in at six every morning and run the numbers; when things get slow we do an e-mail special for oil, brake, and tire rotations and we’ll have the bays filled by eight. We keep it positive — you can’t just sit and wait for it to get better.”
The shop and local coffee stop is tied to the community. “It is who we are,” Scheewe said. “We are a part of the community we serve.”
The team at DuFresne’s has been actively supporting their local community for years and in several areas. In support of NATA and the Car Care Council, they hold free safety inspections twice a year. DuFresne’s has also hosted several AAA programs, including a battery roundup where locals can drop off old batteries for proper disposal and a women’s car care clinic co-sponsored by Baxter Auto Parts NAPA, she said.
But it is December when DuFresne’s work with the community really shines. “Every December we do a food drive for the Oregon Food Bank. We ask customers to bring in a minimum of six canned goods and in return we give them a free brake inspection including free brake pads if needed. All they pay for is the additional labor. Toyota, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz, we pay more than $200 for some of the pads, but it is well worth it,” Scheewe said. “Last year they filled a 10-foot container with more than 6,000 pounds of food and the people at the Oregon Food Bank were thrilled.”