Girlington Garage, S. Burlington opened doors June 1, 2009 I started Girlington Garage after many years of planning and preparation. Today we are a five bay full service garage with six employees (including myself and my mom/business partner). Part of our vision is to support women in the trades so we have always had a female apprentice from Vermont Technical College. We hope our current apprentice will join our two other technicians when she graduates in May, 2012.
Girlington Garage feels it is important to support the community in as many ways as possible. We have made donations of cash and services to Vermont Flood Relief, Malayaka House, Spectrum Family Services, MS Society, Cinderfella and many other community organizations. I also spend time every year at Vermont Works for Women’s Women Can Do event at VTC. I host a workshop teaching high school aged young women the basics of car maintenance and what a career as an automotive technician might look like. In addition, I give free care car classes, most recently at business including Dealer.com and Burton.
Favorite part of job?
My favorite part of the job often comes upon me unexpectedly. It happens after I have spent some time with a customer explaining to them what repairs need to be made, and why. I always try to make sure that my customers understand how the part that needs to be replaced functions and what the repercussions will be if the part is not repaired. This is something that I do every day, with every customer that needs it. Sometimes, once the customer has made a decision about what to do, they will stop and tell me how much they appreciate the time I take to explain things to them or to answer their questions. Sometimes they tell me that they feel more confident about their cars. Sometimes they are just thankful. But those moments, when I realize that what I am doing actually affects people in a good way, are my favorite part of the job.
Most inspiring mentor?
My friend Amy Mattinat owns a repair shop, Autocraftsmen, in Montpelier. When I was thinking about opening my own shop, and then planning on it, and then writing a business plan for it, Amy not only gave me advice and encouraged me, but she showed me in detail how her shop worked, opened her books to me so I could figure out what I had to plan on financially to get the shop running and keep it open, and she shared with me many many secrets of how to effectively run a repair shop. She is still the person I call when I am in a quandary and I just don't know what to do. She always helps me to step back and walk through the problem until I find the right answer for me. She is generous and smart and on the top of her game!
Who is your living hero?
My mom is my living hero. She gave up her life in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont in order to help me open this shop. She has taken on co-ownership of a business that she thought would be something she would help with just a couple of hours a week. With out my mother, I would not have been able to create the successful business we have now. She is just as much a part of Girlington Garage as I am. The way that she has given herself to this business, without my ever asking, is amazing.
Favorite downtime activity?
I am an insatiable reader. Once I start reading a book that I like, it becomes a mighty struggle for me to put it down, and I will sacrifice as many nights of sleep as I need to in order to finish it. And when I finish it, I just have to find another one to start.
Favorite Vermont Escape?
My favorite Vermont escape is a hot day spent at a secret swimming hole.
It changes everyday.