By Tristan Hiegler
Owner: Scott Keller
Start Date: March 15, 2010
Address: 1601 Birchwood Ave., Bellingham
Phone: (360) 746-8310
Scott Keller, owner of the recently opened Keller Automotive on Birchwood Avenue, is willing to go that extra mile for his customers.
Keller, who has 30 years of experience in the automotive repair industry and has received factory training with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW, recently had a repeat customer bring in her third car to get an oil change from him. Keller gave her the oil change, plus a filter and two windshield wiper blades for free.
“It cost me 30, 40 bucks,” he said, “but I have a customer for life.”
Keller, who moved to Washington from California five years ago, said he worked as the manager of a local shop starting in August 2009, but was excited when the opportunity arose to start his own business.
Keller said while he was initially nervous about getting enough customers to be successful, his fears were quickly allayed when he had five cars come in the first day Keller Automotive opened. He said business has been improving since then.
The shop offers just about every auto service one can ask for. From the standard lube and oil change to advanced engine and brake system repairs, Keller and his team handle it all. He said it costs $32 for a four-quart oil change and $38 for a five-quart oil change. Additionally, he said he’s offering a free oil change to any customer that manages to bring in three other customers.
Keller said he offers free safety checks on every car that comes into the shop. While an employee takes care of the oil change, Keller likes to check over the car himself and see if there are any problems, which is usually a 15-minute process. For everything he finds, he lets the car owner know what’s wrong and if it’s something that can be fixed later or should be taken care of right away.
Family is important to the shop. Keller has both of his sons, Tyler and Kyle, as employees, while his father, Don, helps him with bookkeeping. His wife, Marnie, works for Shukson Middle School as a special education teacher and provides moral support, Keller said. His good friend, Alger Deleon, is the shop’s service manager while Deleon’s brother works as one of the mechanics.
“It’s a family-oriented business,” Keller said.
Keller has bigs plans for the shop. He said Keller Automotive will soon become a Castrol Premium Lube Express franchise. New signs will be attached to the shop and two out of the three car bays will be reserved for Castrol product use. Keller said Castrol will pay him to use their products if he meets a certain yearly quota for gallons used.