Our History of Ethical Auto Repair

“We’re very proud of our reputation for being a group of really talented, goodhearted people with a long history of ethical auto repair and service—that includes a caring staff of certified professionals that I’m proud to call friends.”

-Bill Coniam
Icould go on at length about the benefits and features of our shop. Many of which you are familiar with. Things like the fact that we are AAA-Approved and a Master Certified Mechanic is responsible for each repair. But there’ve been shops over the years that had all the right ingredients, but the souffle fell just the same.

Or, for a more ‘mechanical’ picture – the Titanic was state-of-the-art, it was ‘unsinkable’. The problem lied with the decision maker behind the wheel.

You need to know who’s at the helm of this auto repair ship.

A Family Business Since 1958humble-gas-station
The family business started in 1958 in Phoenix. In 1959, our patriarch opened a Humble Oil Gas Station on the SE corner of 44th Street and Thomas Road (pictured above in December 1963). The land behind the gas station was a farm and some customers brought their car in for an oil change and let their children play with the lambs on the farm behind the station. That location was run by the family for 30 years until the lease expired and the new mall was to be built. From there, the second generation purchased facilities of their own and have continued to serve the community they have grown up in!cub-scout-pack
Cub Scout Pack #343 participated in the opening ceremonies of the Humble Oil Gas Station in December 1963. Notice the fourth scout from the left? That’s little Tony Guido, now the self-named “silent owner” of 25th Street Automotive. His mother was den mother of the cub scout troop.
A Family Business Since 1958humble-gas-station
The family business started in 1958 in Phoenix. In 1959, our patriarch opened a Humble Oil Gas Station on the SE corner of 44th Street and Thomas Road (pictured above in December 1963). The land behind the gas station was a farm and some customers brought their car in for an oil change and let their children play with the lambs on the farm behind the station. That location was run by the family for 30 years until the lease expired and the new mall was to be built. From there, the second generation purchased facilities of their own and have continued to serve the community they have grown up in!

cub-scout-pack
Cub Scout Pack #343 participated in the opening ceremonies of the Humble Oil Gas Station in December 1963. Notice the fourth scout from the left? That’s little Tony Guido, now the self-named “silent owner” of 25th Street Automotive. His mother was den mother of the cub scout troop.

I’m a car guy; a competitor and a Christian…have been all my life.

As a child, I was the go-to guy in the neighborhood for Matchbox & Hot Wheels. Raced H.O. scale cars and then a radio controlled car.

In my early teens I joined a group of bicyclists. Our church was home to the CrossCountrymen. We would set off from suburban Michigan on 10 speed bikes during summer vacations and pedal distances like around Lake Huron in 2 weeks, or the next summer: from Detroit to the coast of Portland Maine in 12 days, riding 120 miles on one of those days.

I started volunteering as a crew member for drag cars at that same age, eventually as Crew Chief, being awarded ‘Best Appearing Car’, ‘Best Engineered Car’, and a World Record.

I had an automotive curriculum in High School, and graduated at the top of my class in automotive trade school.

"I believed that you could run a facility with ethics; that treats its staff with respect and provides a cost-effective service to the public. 25th Street Automotive exists as proof that good guys don’t always finish last."

I’ve worked, most of my career, as a technician. Master-Certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. I was among the first in the nation to be certified as an Advanced Level Specialist.

After working in an industry with technicians of questionable ethics, for people with little or no apparent concern for what is right for employees or the public, I decided it was time for a change. I started taking courses at GCC and obtained my teaching certificate. But after research and prayer – I pursued a career in automotive management.

I have since traveled to multiple states for training and was among the first to be certified as a Service Consultant. I currently advise shop owners nationwide.

I believed that you could run a facility with ethics; that treats its staff with respect and provides a cost-effective service to the public.

25th Street Automotive exists as proof that good guys don’t always finish last. Today my staff can make it to a lot of their kid’s soccer games that I’d have missed working Saturdays for my employers.

The Writer Henry James said that “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; the third is to be kind.”
Bill Coniam and the love of his life, Cyndi

Not everyone in the auto industry is the type of people you see on investigative TV news stories. Some of us are the people the news channels consult for those stories.

Now, each auto repair business, like any business, must make a profit to keep the doors open. A business that fails – is of no use to you, either for your next need or for its ability to stand behind its repairs with a warranty.

So it is how the repair shop makes a profit that should be of interest to you.

  • We’ve heard the ads, but there is no such thing as a $99 brake job. First of all – brakes are no place to cut corners. I’ve heard numerous stories of people attempting to obtain a ‘cheap’ brake repair only to find that the offer ‘does not apply to their car’ or ‘we don’t even stock the pads for that ad’, or they’re told that their car needs much more. If a facility ever does perform a ‘cheap’ job, the facility would need to make it up somewhere…you don’t want it to be on your car and it’s not fair for it to be on anyone else’s car either.
  • There are no such things as ‘free’ diagnostic procedures. I have tens of thousands of dollars in equipment; even lesser equipped facilities or lesser trained techs do not operate gratis. Expect that; if fees are ‘not charged’: the proper diagnosis is not performed and they’re likely guessing or you’re paying for it in other fees, or someone else is paying too much – to make the profit back.

I believe that fair prices on repairs that are really needed is the only way to run a business.

We find that it is cheaper to do things right the first time. We’ve been doing this a long time and you and your referrals have the benefit of this experience.

Here’s an example:

The original brakes on my own truck lasted approximately 35,000 miles. While many may assume the”factory” parts to be the best, we used a ceramic pad from another supplier. The next set of front brakes lasted 70.000 miles, fully twice as long. Same driver, same operating conditions.

On that same type of vehicle we found it common to wear front tires prematurely. 30-40,000 miles was typical. Using our prescribed maintenance schedule, which is included in our service at no charge, the tires lasted until we finally replaced them on that vehicle preventively at around 60,000 miles.

Aside from knowing what we’re doing, we’ve been known to do what’s right:

  • We have a standing discount that we call the ‘St Vincent DePaul’ discount whereby we perform repairs at our ‘cost’. We help families that are referred to us by such organizations as St Vincent DePaul, the Salvation Army and the Department of Economic Security.
  • We train and employ tech-school students in a co-op program offering the students an entry-level position in their chosen field, offering them a ‘leg up’ on their peers as they make their way toward becoming Certified Technicians.
  • We are currently implementing industry-leading programs to reduce our environmental impact.
  • We maintain high levels of training. Technicians look for every opportunity to stay at the leading edge of their craft. My management training has taken me to the AMI’s Accredited Automotive Manager certificate and beyond.

We’re very serious about what we do, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying what we do. Our customers are like an extended family to us – we don’t take advantage of family and we don’t take advantage of you.

I’ll leave you with this thought from J.C. Watts, Jr.:

“Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”
Copyright © 2006-2015. 25th Street Automotive. All rights reserved.