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Posts Tagged ‘voted best auto shop houston’

Channel 11-khou 11-Tv Interview Midtown Auto Service 2008-houston-tx

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007/Houston,Tx

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Midtown Auto Service & Repair — Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007

Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2007/Houston,Tx

Midtown Auto Service-Featured Newspaper Article-Houston,Tx

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

HOUSTON, Texas — On a Monday before July 4th, Mon Yu is sitting at his desk behind the reception-area counter talking on the phone to a parts store. He is trying patiently to explain that he was incorrectly billed for a $52 fuel injector, but the clerk he’s talking to is not following the math. Mikey, owner of Midtown Auto Repair Shop near downtown Houston, cheerfully says he’ll call back later to clarify.

The owner, Mikey, and ASE Certified technician discussing a fuel leak on a Volkswagon Jetta.

Standing up and hurrying from behind the counter, Mikey smiles big and apologizes for keeping his visitor waiting a couple of minutes. He seems unusually friendly — happy even — for a repair shop owner, but it soon becomes clear why. Mikey’s is profitable and debt free, despite Mikey continuous upgrades of computer capabilities and shop equipment and an expansion in 1999 that boosted the number of bays from one to seven, which expanded the business to about 4,900 square feet. Located on Almeda Road, approximately half-way between downtown and Houston’s sprawling Medical Center complex, Midtown auto service is in a high-traffic area and doesn’t have a competitor within miles.

Mikeys customers are happy about the shop, too. On the wall opposite the counter is a framed seal of approval from AAA. Mikey’s got a 98 percent customer-satisfaction score in April. On Citysearch.com, the Web-based business-search site where customers comment on their experiences with local businesses, Mikey’s get 18 “Highly Recommended” votes out of 19 reviews.

In June, one customer wrote: “I have been to Midtown’s with both of my cars and I have been very happy with each experience. Mikey, himself, listens to your problem and explains it well, even showing you the problem directly. He always seems happy to listen, while a lot of other mechanics act irritated that you’re wasting their time. Fair, thorough and professional. That’s all I could ask of a mechanic, and Midtown’s hits a home run every time.”

The customer review, however, raises a question: If Yu, is the owner, who is Mikey? Turns out, there is no “Mikey” associated with the business. Never has been. The shop was opened in 1987, by Mikeys father Man Yu, who emigrated with his family from South Korea in 1973, when Mon was three. His father worked for several years in the Meineke Car Care Center warehouse in Pasadena, south of Houston. Man Yu didn’t even own a car in the early years, and walked to work. Sam Meineke, the Houstonian who founded the chain, admired Man Yu’s work ethic and the two men became friends, as well.

“Sam gave him a break, and asked him if he wanted to buy a store.” Mikey says. Man Yu owned a Meineke shop in southwest Houston for seven years, and in 1987 he bought the current location, which had been another Meineke shop, to open his own repair garage. “He was thinking ‘Mikey’ sounds like Meineke,” Mikey explains, “and the people in the neighborhood were used to that.” So, father and son became known as Mikey, and Mon Yu’s work shirt has a “Mikey” patch on the right front. “Everyone who walks in assumes I’m Mikey,” Mikey said.  “I’ve got people coming in who were my dad’s customers and they call me junior Mikey.”

He bought the business from his father-for less than $100,000 and with monthly payments-when his father wanted to retire in 1999. He sold his cars and maxed out his credit cards for the down payment, he said. In addition to expanding the shop space, he bought new lifts, a new alignment machine and other equipment and computerized the operation. “Dad didn’t have a computer,” Mikey said. “He kept it in his head.” He says the business, which has three ASE-certified techs, has grown about 15 percent a year since 1999. Mikey’s is one of only about 200 shops in the Houston area that participate in the State of Texas emissions-control program with Advanced Engine Performance Specialist certification and the computer equipment required by the program.  

Both men were self-taught mechanics, but as a young man Mon Yu saw the shop more as a way to make walking- around money than as his future source of income. “I resisted it,” he says. “I was that teenager guy who thought, I’m not taking over this dirty shop.” Still, he soon realized that doing a quick brake job was a better use of his time than doing odd jobs on an hourly basis, so he picked up additional skills. “I learned from the ground up doing everything: service adviser, ordering parts, mechanical stuff,” Mikeys says. His on-the-job training met some resistance from mechanics who were not keen on teaching the boss’s son, because it cut into their commission work. “Mechanics don’t want to teach,” he says. “They’re selfish.”

He ended the commission system and put his employees on straight salaries after taking over the shop. “The downfall is sometimes they slow down on the job; when they were on a commission, they rushed,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll get on them about that.” His employees get a week of paid vacation annually, and have the option of participating in a 401k retirement plan. Mikey said he plans to add a health-insurance plan to the benefits.

Mikey, the youngest of the three sons, has a degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston. He planned to go into law enforcement, preventing crime during his day job and moon-lighting as a security officer at night in Houston’s clubs. But like a lot of working people, having a family meant a change in plans. “I was married and my wife worried for my safety if  I did take a job like that,” he said. “I was ready for the transition to this business.” When the subject turns to family, his smile returns and Mikey notes the photos on the wall of his sons’ baseball team, which Mikey’s sponsors. He happily displays family pictures on his Blackberry.  

ASE Certified technician working on a motor mount for a Lexus Es300.

Mikey likes computer technology and he prefers customers who are comfortable with it, like those who find his shop through Web search sites. “They’re sophisticated people and they’re techsavvy,” he says. “They understand there are going to be some expenses in fixing their car.” For example, these customers are likely to accept his explanation that fixing the current problem is only part of the work that should be done. If he tells them that other problems are likely down the road, based on his diagnostics, techsavvy customers are more likely to tell him to perform all the needed repairs and replacements.

The owner, Mikey, behind his shop’s sign proudly posing 18 yrs of automotive service.

Sophisticated customers also know a fair price when they see it, and trust is an important part of Midtown’s success. As one customer wrote in May:
“I went there for an alignment because they had a better price compared to others in the downtown area. Mikey was there and took care of my car and made sure we knew what was going on, so there was no chance of surprises. Car was done exactly in the time they promised..”

Midtown Auto Service Named ‘Best Auto Shop.’

Midtown Auto-Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year 2006/Houston,Tx

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Midtown Auto Service & Repair — Voted Houston’s Auto Repair of the Year by Subscribers of The Local Newspaper.

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4510 Almeda Rd, Houston, Tx 77004 - ph:713-523-2886

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