My Journey Toward Car Literacy

I Married A Car Guy: My Journey Toward Car Literacy

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!

Yearly Archives: 2015

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

These Boots Are Made for Walking…In Snow

These Boots Are Made for Walking…In Snow

This time of year, Jeff is thinking about snow tires and antifreeze. I'm thinking about boots. I should be thinking about boots that are practical and repel water and snow. I need good boots for work but then, I go online. I'm lured in by the ‘what's new for winter 2015’. All the pretty, furry, funky boots, lacing, zippers, and all the other fun things that are added but not needed. Boots, like many things nowadays, aren't just functional but have to be attractive or a certain style. Boho, classical, cowboy, western, motorcycle or equestrian. And work boots. Even work boot style boots have had their moment of being chic. I've never seen a photo spread in Vogue with the title “technician boots, not just for the shop” though. Then there's the open toe booties. They show those on models wearing winter coats, hats and gloves. I love how they look but the reality is, in Michigan you'd get frost bite on your toes and they'd fall off. Not such a good look. Then I'm besieged by th ... read more

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

This time of year is all about change. The leaves are changing and night comes a little bit sooner. We're doing more driving in the dark. There are kids outside waiting for the bus before the sun comes up. And then there's Halloween. Loads of kids running around from house to house in search of candy while dressed in fun costumes. It seems like Michigan’s tradition for it to be cold and possibly even rainy that night. Not always the best conditions for watching out for little ghosts and goblins in the road. The holidays will also be here before we know it and there’s a lot of driving from place to place and road trips to visit relatives. It's easy to put off minor repairs or maintenance to our vehicles at such a busy time during the year. Plan ahead, and just like replacing the filter in your furnace in the fall before you have to use it, have the technician that performs your oil change check several things. Most reputable repair facilities do this as part of the oil chang ... read more

If You Are Using A Screen Reader And Are Having Problems Using This Website, please call Arie Nol Auto Center, Inc (616) 532-6019 For Assistance.