From left: The front office staff at family-owned Bussard’s All-Pro Automotive Center includes Harout Papirian, Ani Papirian, Vatche Papirian, Mary Garabedian, Garry Papirian, and Jose Ramirez (seated).Technicians Ara Shirvanian and Hovik Tahmasian confer on a leak problem with a customer’s car. Ed Gasparian carries out a major engine service on an ailing vehicle.Technician Francisco Garcia sets up the shop’s John Bean Visualiner for an alignment.Vatche Alexanian completes an oil and filter change.

It’s a family affair at Bussard’s where open arms are extended to staff and customers

Independent shops stand alone from franchisees with expertise and customer care, owner says

Los Angeles—Garbis “Garry” Papirian, owner of Bussard’s All-Pro Automotive Center, has grown his business by following a simple philosophy with his customers and the people he works with.

“People are everything,” he said. Anything you want, I will help you attain it. “That applies whether it’s a customer who wants their car to run like new, or an employee who has a goal in life I will make it happen.”

He accomplishes his goal with customers by providing more streamlined customer care, top-quality repair work, follow-up phone calls and emails after service to make sure the customer is happy, and being aware of what’s going on in their lives.

“We keep track of birthdays and anniversaries and send out cards when they come up, and if someone is ill or breaks a leg, we send them get-well cards,” he said. “For all of those reasons our customer service is highly rated on social media.”

When it comes to his staff, Papirian encourages them to share what’s going on in their lives. 

“If any of the guys or gals I work with have a dream to buy a home a car or a goal they have set, I will help them accomplish it. I have a lot of good contacts with realtors and financial groups, so I get them together and make make their dreams come true.”

Papirian has ASE-certified technicians, including two ASE Master techs, at his shop, which has been an AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) for 18 years and ASCCA Chapter 5 member for 17 years. He’s also invested in the latest equipment including a John Bean Visualiner four-wheel alignment machine, Toyota and VW/Audi factory diagnostic tools, an Autel Maxisys, and Snap-on Solus and Verus scan tools.

“User-friendly scan tools is a must, and all software is regularly updated along with scan tools,” he said. “However the level of new technology and need for updates is increasing.”


The value of independent expertise

Escalating technology also contributes to a lack of quality car care and good technicians because before they can master a problem, a new technology has replaced it without the original problem getting solved, Papirian said.

“Repair is meant for specialists who truly know what they are doing and have a love for it,” he said, “as opposed to franchised service centers that provide a cookie cutter scenario which doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of customers in the long or short run.”

Paying close attention to existing customers, making sure they are always safe, and taking care of all their auto-related problems is key to success, Papirian said.

“As long as we can get accurate diagnostic repair information, independent shops should continue to be successful,” Papirian said. “Keep in mind that independent shops are most of the time a place where experts exist and have been known to provide support to dealerships and manufacturers. A shop must take into consideration equipment, tools, and technician training costs and charge accordingly.”

Papirian said his philosophy and business model has resulted in a 20-percent increase in business for the past five years. Car count is up about 18 percent and the average repair order is up about 11 percent.


How it all started

Kenneth Bussard originally opened the shop in 1940 two blocks down the street as a radiator repair business, then he built a new facility at its present location in 1964 .

“It remained a radiator shop until 1977, when my father, Harout Papirian, purchased it. He kept the name because it had a good reputation and brand recognition. I used to go after school and summertime to help him and my brother, Vartan Papirian.”

When Garry Papirian was in high school he took an auto shop class and did so well that in his senior year the auto shop teacher had him compete against other high schools in an Independent Garage Owners (now ASCCA) competition and won first place.

“The IGO scholarship prize came with tools and money to attend trade school,” he said. “So, I went to UTI in Arizona, came back in 1984, worked at other shops to gain experience, and in 1988 I came back and started the auto repair division.”

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.