Graham Auto Repair expands to Yelm
By Paul Dunn / [email protected]
No more goats and cows. So, too, sheep, pigs and roosters.
On greener pastures, perhaps, taking root and ruminating along the way.
But don’t despair, they will soon be replaced by a decidedly wilder group – no meowing or mooing in this crowd. Think jaguars, mustangs, cougars, impalas and maybe even stingrays and cobras. Tame species such as Camrys, Civics, Sonatas and Pandas will of course also feature in the Menagerie on Wheels.
Here’s the truth: When the Yelm’s Mattress Ranch franchise left our beautiful town on January 23 – taking their collection of colorful animals with them – the company’s facilities were quickly purchased by the owners of Graham Auto Repair from Graham who s ‘expect to open the Yelm version of their business by the end of the summer.
The new facility’s runway masters, husband and wife Troy and Kori Vaninetti, plan to expand the red barn building from its current size of 5,400 square feet into a 6,200 square foot paragon with nine car bays and a hydraulic lift at the rear for motorhome service and other large vehicles.
“The building will not look like this at all (after its renovation),” said Troy Vaninetti, who bought the site at 402 Yelm Avenue E. on Jan. 29 for $ 905,000.
Vaninetti, 49, expects the renovation – which will include extending the side walls and pulling out the facade of the existing building to construct a waiting room and covered parking – to last until August or September.
“It’s a moving target when you renovate a building, but I hope we open in September,” he said.
Vaninetti, who was born and raised in Eatonville, began his foray into auto repair as a teenager, though he couldn’t predict at the time what his future really held in store for him.
“I was 17 and 17-year-olds don’t know what they want,” he says. “So I took the opportunity to work at a Graham service station.”
It wasn’t long, however, before the ambitious kid became Chief Technician, then Station Manager, and finally in 2006, he and Kori bought Graham Auto Repair. They first rented retail space for their new business and then in 2016 built the Graham business that exists today.
Then Vaninetti began researching a possible second location for Yelm after discovering that a local auto service company had sold and subsequently downsized.
“At that point, I recognized the need for another auto repair shop in Yelm,” he said.
It took Vaninetti about a year to find the right location for his store, and when Mattress Farm left he took over the building. It expects to serve customers from Yelm, Roy, McKenna, Rainier, Eatonville and possibly other locations.
The company has a list of “anchors” and “essentials” that define its mission and dedication to service, but in a nutshell, the goal is to make sure customers step out of their repair experience. Graham automobile satisfied and confident.
Lacie Ugelstad, 39, the company’s digital media and recruitment manager, explained: “We hope people give us the opportunity to show them through their experience with us that our service is excellent. We are here to serve people by keeping them and their families safe on the road. “
The company plans to offer a variety of automotive services on domestic and foreign cars, trucks and motorhomes, including tire repair, maintenance, replacement and alignment, engine diagnostics and digital inspections.
“We all have different types of technicians, so we cover all different makes and models of vehicles,” Vaninetti said. “And we’re continually improving everything we do, which includes investing in our team by continuing to train and improve our skills, from CEO to apprentice technician. “
Transparency is also the key word at Graham Auto Repair, underlined Vaninetti. To achieve this goal, technicians photograph all digital vehicle inspections and send the results to customers via SMS or email. Visual data allows customers to see potential issues with their vehicles and decide how to proceed.
“They (the customers) see everything we do in the store, and from that information they can make their own informed decisions about what to do with their vehicles,” Vaninetti said.
But even with a variety of guarantees for clients, Vaninetti realizes that there will be occasional and unintentional errors in their services.
Which brings us to business anchor # 2: doing the right thing, no matter the cost.
“This is a testament to our commitment to do the right thing, especially when we get it wrong,” Vaninetti said. “This is the real test of integrity. We are not perfect and will miss the mark sometimes, but we will do what it takes to correct our mistakes. “
And in a small town, reputation moves quickly, so personal integrity and interaction with customers play an important role, Ugelstad suggested.
“The benefit of being in a small community is getting to know the people you serve by being involved in the community,” Ugelstad said. “We want our customers to feel like part of our family. “
For Vaninetti, this means developing a family atmosphere at Graham Auto Repair by hiring and supervising the company’s employees..
“I like developing people (employees) the most,” he said. “We deliver amazing customer experiences by hiring amazing people. They continue to improve and it is gratifying to see our company working as a team.
In September or thereabouts, the Graham Auto Repair team in Yelm will service the vehicles from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and be closed on weekends.
The Vaninetti, who have been married for 26 years and have three sons and a daughter between the ages of 21 and 15, have deliberately planned the hours to accommodate their employees.
“We enjoy the time with the family and the crew are much happier when they are off on the weekend,” concluded Troy Vaninetti.
Of course they are: they’ve spent the week tuning out growling Jaguars. Phew.