Shop Profile - Service Repair

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Family-owned shop reaches out to community, online customers

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 07:00
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V&F Auto began with a firm foundation. Vinny and Frank Palange, father and son, founded V&F in 1988 by taking the added step of buying an acre of land in Agawam, MA. While most shops start off making do with rented property, the Palanges built a 4000 square foot facility, which they’ve expanded and refined over the years to the establishment it is now.  

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At a glance:
V&F Auto
Agawam, Mass.
Frank Palange
No. of shops
Years in business
No. of employees
Total square footage
No. of bays
Average repair order w/o State Inspections
Average repair order w/ State Inspections
No. of customer vehicles per week
$1.6 million
Annual gross revenue

“They were actually just going to do some detailing and sell some basic parts,” says Nicole Palange of her grandfather and father. “From there they started doing some oil changes, but my dad likes to tell the story of when a woman came in and asked if they did brakes. My dad said we didn’t, my grandpa kicked him behind the counter and said yes we did. ‘No we don’t.’ ‘Yes we do.’”

“My dad had become a licensed electrician when he was in school, so he didn’t quite have a complete automotive background,” she explains. “Finally they told her that they would figure out how to do it. (After that) service grew faster, so we ended up with many different additions.” Over the years it would grow to include retail and wholesale parts and eventually even an auto sales firm across the street in 2002. 

“I would say repair is roughly 50 percent of our business, if not a little bit more, with parts being about 30 percent and car sales about 20 percent,” Palange reports. However, it’s somewhat unusual to be both a parts supplier and consumer. “It’s difficult,” she admits. “With service being our dominate business, it took us a long time to build a reputation in the parts industry where people could trust us and not look at us as a competitor.”

However, V&F recently had occasion to physically separate the two businesses when they purchased a building next door to their auto sales and refurbished it as an independent Carquest store. “Over time we’ve proven ourselves to our parts customers that we’re not giving our service business any kinds of deals,” relates Palange. “It’s definitely challenging, but we’ve learned a lot through the years, and I believe we’re at a point now that we can feel confident about where we stand with our parts business.”

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