AAMCO opens in Sebring
MARCIA ROBBINSThe weak economy and high rate of unemployment have caused many Americans to alter their lifestyles. One trend is that car and truck owners are driving their vehicles for at least 100,000 miles and often months and years past warranty coverage.
Published: November 11, 2012
Published: November 11, 2012
A Reuters story in February 2012 stated a study done by market analyst Polk found that Americans are holding onto their new vehicles for about six years — 27 percent longer than before the recession — and this has created an opportunity for aftermarket companies. Aftermarket refers to repair/replacement parts for your automobile that are not produced by the manufacturer of your car.
Sebring has many privately owned auto repair shops with loyal and satisfied customers and there are maintenance and repair facilities at the dealerships. Beginning this week, AAMCO Total Auto Care, a new contender for the aftermarket business, has opened its facility at the entrance to the Lakeshore Mall.
Stan Kuczynski, owner of AAMCO Total Auto Care in Sebring, said that extensive research by the corporate office over a period of six months concluded that Sebring demographics are a perfect fit for AAMCO.
The study revealed that on average 100,000 cars pass his shop location on U.S. 27 every day when the snowbirds are in town and, within a 35-minute radius, close to $6 million was spent on repairs last year.
"In January, I contacted AAMCO about buying a franchise in Sebring and they said it was lucky I came along. They had already done the research and were going to open a corporate store. It cost me 50 percent less than if I had bought an existing shop. And there are only two more markets in Florida available," said Kuczynski. "It is a little scary to venture into owning my own place, but at the same time I am confident because corporate gives us access to a support team."
Kuczynski is an unusual entrepreneur. He has been in the car business for 20 years and holds three degrees in automotive technical training. He also holds two Ph.Ds, one in archaeology and one in biblical history, and is a part-time college teacher. Further, he played minor league baseball for the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. But by his own admission, he "really, really enjoys working on cars."
"We are very excited about Stan," said Jack Bachinsky, vice president of marketing support for AAMCO Total Car Care in Pennsylvania. "AAMCO does very well in small towns like Sebring, and it is a very well-known brand.
In 2005, AAMCO shifted the brand's focus from only transmissions service to total car. Since then, we have seen double digit growth every year. Stan should do well."
Kuczynski said that while AAMCO will now offer Sebring superb repairs by expertly trained mechanics with a focus on transmission repair and total automotive services, in his mind there is one service they offer that is different than the other shops in town.
"We offer a range of services such as free check outs, which a dealer might charge $110 out of warranty. What I believe is the best in the business however, is our warranty program. Most only give 90 days for general repairs. We give 12 months or 12,000 miles except for transmissions, which is still a good deal at 6 months. That means that if after 11 months whatever we repaired breaks again, we repair it for free," said Kuczynski.