The Adventure Continues in 2023 – A New Year!
Most new businesses don’t make it to Year 5, and we‘re still here 18 years later. Wahoo!! While this was not our first business, the others were operated from our home. Purchase of an old yellow Dodge service truck started our repair service in March of 2005. Desiring brick and mortar for the first time, we purchased an old building that was in disrepair, but the location near I-86 and reduced price lured us to Falconer. Renovations began June 2005, and we opened for business under construction destruction. The old flat roof leaked horribly so we draped plastic over the office ceiling to channel rainwater into buckets. My husband Nate and our nephew Justin Benjamin did all the roof demo themselves using a front loader and a rented saw during that blazing hot Summer! At one point we had customer vehicles in the repair bays and there was no roof! Fall 2005 masonry work was completed, huge roof trusses were lifted into place by a crane, then covered with steel right before weather turned bad. What an accomplishment!
Honestly, we had limited first-year projections for this start-up. Advertising was word of mouth, and we were not in the phone book yet (yes, that was a thing!). Directory Assistance had us listed incorrectly, and it took 3 months to convince them that we were in Falconer NY and not Poland NY. It was just Nate and I bootstrapping this endeavor. Nate had just been released to return to work following a car accident in which he sustained back/rib injuries, and he was repairing vehicles or renovating 18 hours a day. Justin pitched in when on break from his SUNY Morrisville Automotive degree. I was taking care of our 10-year-old autistic son, getting business licenses in order, lining up contractors, setting up the office, taking care of customers, and lending a hand on construction projects. In the blink of an eye, we had more business than we could handle – God is good! Employees were hired, equipment purchased, office and storage space built, an addition built in 2012 which increased our repair shop to 8 bays, and much needed exterior upgrades completed. It’s been quite a journey!
Fast forward to 2020. It was business as usual with quick adaptation to heighten customer and employee safety. All employees were kept on during this difficult period in history. As an essential business, we took our responsibilities seriously… keeping utility company and other essential business fleets running; Getting essential workers to the job in vehicles that were safe and reliable whether they needed an oil change, new tires, or repairs. Vehicle shuttle? Yes!
What’s new in 2023 for I-86 Truck & Auto Service? Nate and I are pleased to announce Justin Benjamin is a new owner/partner! Justin has worked for us since age 15 and is a sharp young man. You’ll find that he is very customer-focused and skilled in all things automotive, with extensive management training the past few years. Justin is married to Rachel, a dedicated schoolteacher in Jamestown. They both enjoy Jeep outings, canoeing the Allegheny, nature hikes and are renovating the old family home they just purchased. Nate and I will still be active owners for the coming 4 years, taking a step back this year as the succession plan continues.
What does that mean to you? We anticipate nothing will change significantly as our leadership team goals are aligned. You will see consistent service excellence, always. If you have any feedback, we invite you to reach out to our Office Manager, Tina Best - a familiar face (or voice from follow up calls) – at 716-665-2501 x112. We will continue providing quality automotive service and repairs for cars, pickups, SUV’s, RV’s and HD vehicles… whether gas, diesel or propane-powered… both domestic and import cars. Customers travel up to an hour to reach us, so we want to ensure you all Experience The I-86 Difference for the next generation.
Our team at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair wishes you all a very happy, healthy, and blessed New Year!
Ronda Whitford, Owner