Zack Glazier believes that the rewards of moving during a pandemic outweigh the risks.
For four years, 33-year-old Zack Glazier has been working at the Alpha Automotive repair shop in Royal Oak. However, the shop was not able to renew its lease, which ends on May 31, and was on the hunt for a new location during the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alpha Automotive has been around for almost 38 years. Glazier and the owner of the shop, Tim Siterlet, couldn’t stand the thought of the shop closing for good. They were determined to have the shop live on to help serve future generations.
“The owner of the shop has about 2 ½ years left before retirement. So, I said, ‘Listen, why don’t I take over, I’ll sign the new lease, I’ll front the money and you can work for me as long as you want,’” Glazier told the JN. “I told him, ‘Don’t touch your retirement fund,’ because that’s what he was going to do to make this work. I thought that was silly.”
With the new deal in place, Glazier began looking for a new place to house the repair shop about a month ago. He found the perfect location just two miles up the road in Berkley. Glazier’s new location opened June 1 – a timeline that has been a trial during a pandemic.
“It is an adventure, to say the least. Trying to coordinate workers to get stuff done and get the shop up and running has been hectic,” Glazier said. “Since everybody is just beginning to start working again, it has been hard to get on schedule.
“However, finding the new place went smoothly, especially the negotiations side since nobody else is moving their shop right now and opening up. We were willing to take that chance of moving during a pandemic because, honestly, what else were we going to do?”
Although Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on May 21, that automotive shops could reopen by appointment only, Alpha Automotive has been an outlier in that order because they were already allowed to operate during the shutdown.
“We have always been essential workers because we are contractors for a government account. Right now, 70% of our customers are in that government account,” Glazier said. “So it hasn’t actually affected us too much. We have been lucky in that sense but we will now see where we go from here since we are moving to a bigger shop.”
With the new, larger shop in Berkley, Glazier will be able to actually set up appointment times instead of just having people drop off their cars and wait to hear back about when they’ll be done.
“My goal and vision for this new shop is to have a dealership feel and look, but with mom and pop prices,” Glazier said. “I have spent the last week working on my waiting room by putting in hardwood floors, ordering specialty tables and having a fridge so our customers could enjoy cold beverages while they wait.”
As of right now, Glazier has only two lifts in the garage to work on cars with. He doesn’t expect to have more lifts in there for another two weeks. So for now, he will be continuing to only service the government account in the beginning but hopes to have the shop finished and opened to the public in two weeks.
“We pride ourselves on delivering excellent service and now I want to move that forward even more and make it a place that people actually want to come to,” Glazier said. “I want my customers to be happy and know that they are getting the best possible price and service.”