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Shop Owner Sees Major Shift in Industry Over Last Five Years

Jay Thatcher, owner of Thatcher’s Auto Center is Superior, WI, says his customers now demand more dependability, performance and fuel efficiency from their vehicles. The shop currently does about 70 percent maintenance and 30 percent repair work. Five to 10 years ago, it was mostly repair work. “Customers have discovered that if they maintain a vehicle today it will go and go. It also costs less over the life of the vehicle to keep it well maintained than to repair it,” Thatcher told a local reporter.

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Jay Thatcher, owner of Thatcher’s Auto Center is Superior, WI, says his customers now demand more dependability, performance and fuel efficiency from their vehicles. The shop currently does about 70 percent maintenance and 30 percent repair work. Five to 10 years ago, it was mostly repair work. “Customers have discovered that if they maintain a vehicle today it will go and go. It also costs less over the life of the vehicle to keep it well maintained than to repair it,” Thatcher told a local reporter.

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Below is the article as it appeared on the Superior Telegram website.

Good service, marketing keeps Thatcher’s on a roll

By Erin Makela
March 19, 2011

Jerry Olson, a technician at Thatcher’s Auto Center, runs diagnostics on a truck in the one of the three bays the center has for repair and maintenance. (Erin Makela)

Jay Thatcher started in the auto repair and maintenance business when he was just 12-years-old.

“I started pumping gas, washing windows and checking oil,” he said. “It was a different business back then.”

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Today, the owner of Thatcher’s Auto Center at 5810 Tower Ave., says the business is less hands-on for him and much more about marketing the business for growth.

“I like being able to make decisions and implement them to positively affect the business,” Thatcher said. “I spend a lot more time these days working on the business rather than in business.”

Although Thatcher and his employees pride themselves on the service and quality of the work they provide, he believes that it is their marketing that really differentiates Thatcher’s Auto from its competitors.

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“Marketing brings in customers, and our service brings them back,” he said.

In the last few years Thatcher has deployed a raft of marketing strategies, from newspaper inserts, to email blasts, to reminder postcards and even texting customers with specials or needed repairs reminders.

“In a competitive market, you have to keep yourself top-of-mind,” he said. “That has to be the most challenging part of my business. You have to stay on top of it because you don’t want to be at a disadvantage. It is something my father and grandpa never had to deal with.”

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To read the entire article on the Superior Telegram website, visit http://www.superiortelegram.com/event/article/id/51689/.

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