Maximun keeps performance vibe
Puyallup, Wash.—Founded by friends Glen Smith and Byron Parkinson in January 1994, Maximum Performance Inc. has grown and diversified in its 24 years, the pair said, adding that they were both “car tinkerers” in high school.
Both partners attended Clover Park Technical College — Smith in Aviation Maintenance and Parkinson in Automotive Technology. Smith worked at Boeing for a short stint and later spent 10 years at Art Morrison Enterprises traveling the country and learning all aspects of chassis and suspension systems, plus worked at other shops as a tech. Parkinson also worked at local shops as a technician in order to gain the experience for opening the shop.
“When Maximum Performance was formed, we regularly built and worked on drag race cars, street rods, Pro Street cars, and muscle cars,” Smith said, adding that he was a longtime drag racer and had a lot of experience in race car and performance street car fabrication. Parkinson, who has been a longtime off-road motorcycle and large truck restorer, worked as a crew chief on a local NASCAR series race team and other short track teams, on and off for decades. Smith owns a 1938 Chevrolet coupe, while Parkinson is the proud owner of a 1970 Chevelle.
“The constant growth of the general automotive service and repair kind of squeezed the performance cars out, and while we don’t do full-on fabrication jobs any more, we still perform a lot of work on muscle cars, street rods, and stock vintage cars,” Smith said, adding that a 1964 Buick Riviera was currently at the shop for repair work. “We always have one or more older or street rod vehicles in the shop for everything from minor repairs to complete mechanical restoration jobs that require months of work to finish. When spring comes, it is not uncommon to have four to five specialty cars at a time here for assorted repairs or modifications.”
Though the 6,400-square-foot shop has six service bays in two adjacent buildings, five are active with day-to-day service and repair, with the one farthest from the office used for the specialty work. “It has excellent space, some machine tooling, and is somewhat enclosed from the other bays, so we can do our repair, modification, or restoration work without disrupting the main shop,” Smith said.
While Maximum Performance today has an average monthly car count of 260-275 vehicles, there remains an air of that original “performance” in the company name. Everyone at the shop is involved in some level of motorsports, from drag racing to Jeeping to stock car racing, and more, and the shop is involved with various car clubs and sponsors several car shows each year.
The shop employs five ASE-certified technicians, including Parkinson. Greg Bronson, who is a 16-year veteran at the shop, is the service adviser with part-time assistance from Smith, and selected shop techs when required. There are also two part-time employees: one that handles shop maintenance and one for janitorial services. In total, the owners said their staff has more than 200 years of combined automotive experience.
With vehicle diagnostics the largest segment of service performed, some 50 to 60 percent, Smith and Parkinson said that includes everything from emissions failures to engine and transmission repair and replacement, steering and suspension repairs to A/C system service and repairs.
A wide range of diagnostic tools are used, including OTC, Autel, Genesys, Snap-on, and a Sun lab scope. “We also use a large assortment of hand-held test equipment, leak detectors, and older testers for various projects,” Smith said. “With technology changing rapidly, it seems like we always need updated tools and equipment.”
Both on- and off-road vehicles are also an important portion of business. It services a large number of 4x4 vehicles and performs repairs or replacement of all 4x4 related components, including transfer cases, drivelines, front differentials and hubs, welding, 4WD control and electrical parts. The shop is also known for rear end work and performs a fair amount of that work for other shops in their area, Smith said.
As it transformed into a general service and repair facility, small fleet service also became a factor, Parkinson said. “Most of our fleet customers are in the two to four vehicle range, but there is rarely a day we don’t have a fleet customer in the shop. While we have some space and lift restrictions, there are lots of commercial vehicles we can service for contractors, plumbers, electricians, and others.”
The shop’s success is a result of several factors, but much of it is due to their well-tenured staff that provides high-quality service and repair. “We take care of our great staff and have been fortunate to have little turnover,” Smith said. “They get excellent ongoing training from CTI and other sources, and they help us provide true, old-fashioned customer service by not overselling service and performing high-quality repairs - and stand behind them if there is an issue.”