“Hi, my name is Heidi Derhy! I am co owner of Signal Garage Auto Care in West St. Paul and St. Paul. Many of our clients are women; they’re young, old, married, single- they drive classic, luxury cars, minivans, trucks, SUVs – all sorts of vehicles. Even so, many women clients feel uncomfortable and even intimidated in an auto repair shop. Another interesting fact is that less than 1% of all automotive mechanics (sometimes referred to as technicians) are women, and very few automotive garages are owned by women. We know that, for many women, and men alike, the language of automotive maintenance and repair can sound no different than foreign language, and can be intimidating. Over the years, sensing a need in the auto maintenance and repair industry, my husband Rami, a 31-year veteran of the car repair industry, my sons Avi, Ethan and I have made many changes to our 44 year-old, now 4th generation family owned business, making it a female friendly-business to accommodate women’s needs.”
Research shows that today’s women influence 80% of all vehicles purchased in the US, 40% of all trucks purchased in the US. Women also buy the majority of all new and used cars. It is estimated that close to 80% of all auto repair and maintenance errands – such as oil changes, and even major repairs – are arranged, dropped off and picked up by women.
Our whole staff is trained to cater to women; we take the time to explain things and we love to invite women (just as we do with men) into the shop to look at their vehicles so they can see and understand what a good or bad part looks like. We’ve created literature which is available for our clients to take home to educate themselves, so they are enabled to make smart, educated decisions about their vehicles. (Our male customers love it, too).
As you walk into our reception area, you can’t help but notice the clean, fresh smell of our beautiful waiting area and the fresh coffee brewed one cup at a time. In the service area, the technicians are just as clean and organized, the floor is clean and tools are put away.
Safety is our number one priority, and having a clear understanding of the mechanics of car ownership follows close behind. This is the rationale behind our decision to offer car care clinics aimed at women.
Our clinics attract women eager to know more about the workings of their vehicles – details about what content should be contained in a kit for roadside emergency, at what point does a tire become unsafe, how to safely change a flat tire or jump-start a dead battery and understanding the importance of routine maintenance – what is necessary and what is just “hype”.
Our staff volunteers their time and we do the clinics right here at Signal Garage Auto Care in West St. Paul. We offer these Car Care Clinics for women at no charge as a courtesy and to show our appreciation to the many women flocking to our business.
We think women deserve a repair shop they can fully trust. It is clear to us that women don’t need or want to be treated differently – just to be treated with the respect they deserve.
We are also looking to educate young women drivers. We have plans to offer a Mother & Daughter Car Care Clinic; a combination of terminology, maintenance, and safety education.