Hi, I'm Debbie Nol, and I married a car guy. My 14 years of working at Arie Nol Auto Center has been an incredible journey, building amazing relationships with customers and learning so much from our experienced technicians.
Now I'm launching a blog to share what I've learned about cars and some of my most memorable customer stories. Hopefully you will find my blog both helpful and entertaining!
I could tell you that our logo, a drawing of a crankshaft and pistons, was created by a large marketing company. That we had focus groups come in and tell us what feeling the logo invoked. That we reviewed the feedback, adjusted the design, spent large amounts of cash to get the color just right, and concluded the project with a launch party. Possibly with crowd- sourcing involved!
Grand Rapids is the home to many family-owned businesses. I feel really fortunate to work with my husband and son daily. It is rare to enter our business and not interact with a Nol family member. Most people that have been in our business eventually figure out the familial relationships.
Do you have a student heading off to college and taking a vehicle? If so, is the car ready? You've bought the microwave, mini fridge, extra-long twin bedding and talked about the importance of making good personal choices.
I had an interesting conversation with a customer and her husband. They're a younger couple with a two year old child. And they bought a sports car. Best of all, it fits a car seat. Kind of the best of both worlds.
Running a small business requires you to wear so many hats and learn something new every day. One of the biggest challenges is marketing. Marketing dollars need to work to bring in business. Fourteen years ago our marketing consisted of deciding how big our telephone book ad was going to be.
We were! Every summer we have a company event where we can all get together with our families and have some fun. We feel very strongly as a company that spending time together contributes to the team atmosphere we have built. Getting to know family members is important for all of us for the same reason.
I've always been amazed by the damage that can happen inside an engine compartment or on the suspension of a vehicle. The technicians always let me know when they have some car part carnage for me to take a picture of before they repair it.
I was shopping several years ago at a local clothing store that I love when I met Susan Brogger, the store manager. Naturally, we started talking about shoes, and one pair in particular I’d been trying on. But as the conversation progressed, I had learned that Susan just recently lost her mother to pancreatic cancer.
She mentioned that she was partnering with the Van Andel Institute (VAI) and their Purple Community to start a fundraiser and asked if Arie Nol Auto Center would be interested in contributing. We did and we were so thankful for the opportunity to support someone who has taken the loss of a parent as a chance to support this local research facility.
Susan’s story resonated with me so well because Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer have all impacted our family's life in the past several years. Since getting involved, we've had the pleasure of learning more about VAI and what they hope to accomplish in the future. And by us learning about the ways they impact our community, more people like Susan can take their grief and turn it into positive action by raising funds, awareness and hope all at the same time.
The Mari J. Meyer Pancreatic Cancer Trail Run for Hope will be held Saturday, September 12, at East Kentwood High School Cross Country Course at 8:30 a.m. If you’re looking for a fun, un- timed run that supports the Purple Community, this is the event for you!