Westerville Automotive’s longevity driven by satisfaction

Zach Shipley, an auto technician at Westerville Automotive, 31 E. Main St., completes a brake job March 29.

Zach Shipley, an auto technician at Westerville Automotive, 31 E. Main St., completes a brake job March 29.

Editor’s Note: This is the 12th in a series about iconic Westerville businesses that are featured monthly.

Westerville Automotive, 31 E. Main St., has been servicing customers’ vehicles for 25 years.

Ken Maginn, manager, said the business focuses on the community, as well as customer satisfaction.

“We have several here who came from dealership positions (wanting) more community-based, small-business-based (focus) to take care of the customers and have the loyalty of customers,” he said. “What we try to do is be a part of the community. That’s what sets us apart. We really try to draw business from in Westerville. We have a lot of customers outside Westerville, but we like being part of the community being a small business.”

Maginn, who has been with Westerville Automotive for 20 years, said owner Richard Aumann bought the location at 5591 Westerville Road a few years prior to the Uptown location that was opened in 1997.

“This building we have pictures when it was actually an automotive dealership way back in the early 1900s,” he said. “I have a picture of a Hudson dealership in 1915, I believe. It just says ‘Westerville Auto Sales.’ In the ’40s and ’50s, it was a dealership Vern Bailey owned.”

This was the first new-car dealership in Westerville, built and owned by Henry Karg, a Westerville builder, according to Don Foster, a local historian who's retired from Otterbein University. Ken Maginn, manager of Westerville Automotive, said the building in the photo represents "the bones" of the current business.

This was the first new-car dealership in Westerville, built and owned by Henry Karg, a Westerville builder, according to Don Foster, a local historian who’s retired from Otterbein University. Ken Maginn, manager of Westerville Automotive, said the building in the photo represents “the bones” of the current business.

He mentioned a fire at the building in the 1930s. In 2017, it underwent a major façade remodel, featuring a retro look.

Maginn said Scott McClure, who has been with the company since the mid-1980s, is the general manager of both locations, adding that McClure is a regular on Auto Smarts Radio on Saturday mornings on 610 WTVN with host Dan “Boots” Longenette.

“You can call in and ask questions,” Maginn said. “People call in and say, ‘Hey, my car is doing this.’ It’s three car guys talking, usually. If they can’t figure it out or if it isn’t something they can’t fix by themselves, he may say you might want to check out Westerville Automotive.”

The Reynoldsburg resident said the business offers everything from changing a headlight bulb to replacing an entire engine.

“The only thing we don’t do here is collision repair,” he said. “We do all types of mechanical repair on all types of cars. We’re a NAPA AutoCare Center.”

Auto technician Cameron Marriott works on a vehicle at Westerville Automotive on March 29.

Auto technician Cameron Marriott works on a vehicle at Westerville Automotive on March 29.

In a recent Google review, Stephanie Lower wrote,” I’ve been going here for years. Used to only have the one location, but the Uptown is so closer for me now. I don’t trust anybody else with my vehicles. They are always up front and fair in their pricing.”

In another review, Chris Ray wrorte, “These guys are great! The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. My technician, Zach, did a great repair job to the front suspension in my Jeep, and it now rides the best since I have owned the vehicle. Their service has been outstanding.”

Maginn said the Uptown location has five full-time and two part-time employees, and the Westerville Road shop has seven full-time and two part-time employees.

Brad Copen, the center’s service adviser, has worked at the Uptown shop for six years.

“I go home and sleep very well at night,” he said. “The management here wants you to take care of the customer. I worked at dealerships for over 20 years. There’s nothing wrong with dealerships, but they push, push, push to want you to do more and more. I felt I wasn’t taking care of the customer the way they should have been.”

When he interviewed for the job, Copen said, the management told him the main goal is to take care of the customer.

“You hear that all the time, but you could see it in their eyes,” he said. “They meant exactly that. I plan on retiring from here if I can.”

Westerville Automotive, 31 E. Main St., has been in Uptown Westerville for more than 25 years. Another location is at 5591 Westerville Road.

Westerville Automotive, 31 E. Main St., has been in Uptown Westerville for more than 25 years. Another location is at 5591 Westerville Road.

Copen, a Grove City resident, said he follows advice his father had given him many years ago – to treat people the way you want to be treated.

“The Bible tells me, how can I love someone if I don’t love myself?” he said. “When people walk through that door, I love these people up here in Westerville. I really do. They’re wonderful people. They get to the point where they trust you. They will say, even before we know what’s wrong, ‘Just fix it.’ I still call them. That’s how much they trust us, and they trust we’re going to take care of them in the right way.”

Copen said the service center started out by doing 30 to 40 repairs a month; it now averages 80 to 85.

“We could have the best month we’ve ever had this month, and that will be close to 96,” he said. “We have a good group of guys who work very hard. They will stay after hours to fix cars to make sure the customer is taken care of.”

Business hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. It’s closed Sundays.

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This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Iconic Westerville Businesses: Westerville Automotive’s longevity driven by satisfaction

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