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My Journey Toward Car Literacy

 I Married A Car Guy: My Journey Toward Car Literacy

 Welcome to the non-automotive automotive blog. My name is Debbie Nol, and I have been the Business Manager at Arie Nol Auto Center since 2000. I have a unique perspective, as I am not a ‘car person’ but work in an industry filled with people passionate about vehicles. It gives me the ability to share what I’ve learned over 20 years and hopefully help you navigate the world of car repair and maintenance more comfortably. However, posts will not always be vehicle related. I love to share observations and story’s from ‘auto world’ with shoes and cats thrown in for good measure.

I’m glad you’re here, and I look forward to you getting to know us a little bit better through this blog!

Articles:

You’re on Pinterest? Really?

You’re on Pinterest? Really?

A gentleman was in the shop and we were talking about different interests. Somehow, the conversation turned to Pinterest and social media. I was saying that I loved Pinterest and he mentioned that he had an account. I told him that Arie Nol Auto Center also had a Pinterest account and that we had some fun things he might find interesting. He was surprised that we (OK, it’s me) ‘pinned’ and said he’d check it out. He likes cars and much of what he pins is related to that subject. In the social media world, I think Pinterest has been seen as geared towards woman but the reality is, there is more and more geared towards men’s interests. Not saying that women don’t love cars, wood working, etc. but most men are not pinning their dream shoes. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, ask around. You’re bound to find someone that uses it. For us, it’s an opportunity to share things we find funny, educational, interesting and inspirational. There are Michigan road trip ideas, ways ... read more

In 1976...

In 1976...

Arie Nol opened Arie Nol Auto Center in 1976. It had a small office with two bays attached. The building had been a former gas station and, according to someone who had grown up in the area, a florist shop at one time. The road was two lanes, no CVS pharmacy and there were two gas stations. Many of the strip malls that are here now did not exist. Jeff was still in high school but would join the business as a full-time employee when he finished two years of college. Arie added an additional bay at that time. It was a time of no computers, one phone line, and vehicles were not nearly as technical as they are now. The answering machine was a cutting edge business tool. It’s interesting to think back on that time as we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year. It is still a family- owned and operated business that takes pride in personal service and customer satisfaction. We have built relationships that span three generations. Cameron is the 3rd generation ... read more

Page 1 of 365

Page 1 of 365

This is what I found when I was searching for a quote for the sign in front of our business. I found two other quotes that I thought would be good and they are now up, and hopefully a little inspiring. But the “Page 1 of 365” stuck with me. I'm a list maker and goal setter. I have the plan laid out for the year. And I’m old enough to know that most items won't go according to plan, but yet, I still have a guideline and goals. Every year right about now, we start evaluating what we can do to improve as a business in the upcoming year. We have discussions with our technicians about training. We send our technicians to classes both in Grand Rapids and also out-of-state. That requires planning so we look at what we need to accomplish in the upcoming year. We also look at tools and equipment. What do we need? Customer service. How can we improve? We constantly evaluate, but the beginning of the new year causes you to take a look and set some goals. Realistically, long range ... read more

Merry Christmas 2

Merry Christmas 2

The past several weeks have been busy as people prepare their vehicles for long holiday trips. They've had any needed maintenance performed and potential issues addressed. This helps to alleviate some of the stress associated with a long trip by doing what you can to avoid a breakdown, is always a wise choice. It looks like the weather will be mild and continue that way through the holidays which makes travel plans easier. The shopping is done or maybe not. In that case, you'll run into me at the store Christmas Eve. The tree is decorated and the presents are wrapped and waiting for everyone to come over or be taken to your celebratory place. The menu is planned and you realize that with all the treats available, the new year resolution should include eating less sugar than you've been consuming lately. If you have small children, they may be worried about Santa being able to travel in his sleigh with no snow. You can tell them he has a Volvo wagon as a backup vehicle s ... read more

Not Just Metal Cars

Not Just Metal Cars

In our customer lounge area, there is a cabinet filled with model cars. The curio cabinet is an old 1980’s style cabinet that you don’t see much anymore. All the shelves are filled with the different make and models of cars. There are Corvettes, Mercedes Benz, Ferraris and Lancias. The cars are die cast models that Jeff collected with his dad, Arie, over the years. Arie passed away over twenty-three years ago. He and Jeff spent a lot of time collecting the cars together and each one has a memory attached to it. They are all vehicles that were rare. When they searched for cars, they looked for makes that either hadn’t been produced for very long or that had something unique that year. The doors, hoods and trunk or boot all are functional. They are at our shop because that is where they belong. Arie’s dream was to have an auto repair shop and to pass along all his knowledge to Jeff, who also loved cars. Collecting the cars with Jeff was something that they enjoyed doing toget ... read more

Jewelry’s an Option Too

Jewelry’s an Option Too

The search for the perfect Christmas gift is on, something the recipient will use and appreciate. It’s normally tough to find something in my world that both men and women would consider a great gift. I've been on tool trucks, and I don't really find items that make me think, “I've always wanted one of those!” They do have telescoping wands with a magnet on the end that I did get for my kids when they were younger. Technicians use them to get metal items that may have been dropped in the course of a job. A bolt that has fallen many times is unreachable without this tool. Not so high tech but necessary. Also a fun gift for little kids, as long as they stay away from the computer hard drives. Last year a vendor came in with a “newish” item. It's a box about the size of an e-reader. It jump starts a car and powers any mobile devices. We commonly use a jump box to start cars that have a bad battery or alternator, or to start a car that has been sitting for a long period of time. A ... read more

Out of sight but not out of smell

Out of sight but not out of smell

Cabin air filters are the hidden, forgotten, unloved car part. You can’t see them so you don’t really think about them. They are usually hidden in the area under your dashboard or close to your engine compartment. They clean the air inside your car. Is this an important job? I think it is. Have you ever noticed a musty, old smell inside your car? It may be that your cabin air filter needs to be checked. In the summer the air conditioning unit is on and drawing all that sneeze causing air into your car. Allergens float around inside your car like little uninvited hitch hikers. In the winter, the heat and defroster are on and they both utilize the air coming from the outside which goes through the cabin air filter. I mistakenly thought summer was the hardest time of year for your cabin air filter. I was reading an article on the importance of timely replacement of your filter and learned that winter is tough on them. Soot levels from the engine are increased as the weather co ... read more

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

There is a lot of controversy this time of year regarding stores opening on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump start on the Black Friday crowds. For us, Thanksgiving has always been a day of spending time with family and eating way too much food. It’s important in the midst of all the cooking and catching up with relatives we don’t see enough, to give thanks. What are you thankful for? Take the time this Thanksgiving to be thankful and to tell the people in your life that you are thankful for them. Even if they took the last piece of pecan pie that you were dreaming about at the feast. For the first time in many years we will be closed this Friday. We have the opportunity to spend some time with relatives that we don’t get to see as much as we’d like. It also gives our employees an opportunity to spend an extra day home with their families. It was a big decision for us because the day after Thanksgiving can be busy and we like to be available for our customers. But, sometim ... read more

What’s in Your Wheelhouse?

What’s in Your Wheelhouse?

I was speaking to a young woman who is a senior in high school. Her vehicle’s check engine light illuminated on her dashboard and she stopped by to have us check into it. While a technician was checking the vehicle, we had a conversation about finding a college. She has been participating in college visits to find one that suits her. She had visited the college my daughter attended, and we spoke about that as well as some of her upcoming visits to other colleges. It was interesting because I had been reading about finding your strengths as it applies to the working world. The phrase I've heard lately is, “That’s in my wheelhouse.” It means that it's something which is within your area of expertise. I always thought it had to do with boats but after checking, found that it is a baseball term meaning a ball pitched right where you want it. You're most likely to hit the ball if it's in that area. The customer I was speaking to was saying she wasn't sure what she wanted to purs ... read more

Shop local. Eat local. Locovore.

Shop local. Eat local. Locovore.

My Dad owned his own business. My husband grew up in the small business we now own. My children all worked in our business and now work for family-owned or small businesses here in Grand Rapids. I've grown up knowing the impact of 'shop local'. Grand Rapids is blessed with so many small businesses. From furniture making to restaurants, we have some of the best. Our service industry is also full of electricians, plumbers, auto and collision repair. Many of the local business commercials on TV highlight the fact that they are family owned and operated. Some of the places have grown to sell nationally and internationally. Meijer, GFS, Amway, Steelcase etc. all started as local businesses. Why does this matter? Anyone can read the statistics about the impact shopping local has on the economy of your area. To me, it's personal. We pay our employees who then purchase goods and services in our area. When we as a company are able to use a local supplier or service provider, which i ... read more

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