Shop owners in Beckley, WV, are upset over Action Auto Repair which recently opened in their community (See Repair Shop Offers Discounted Repairs to Low-Income Families [VIDEO]). The new shop is operated by the Raleigh County Community Action Association and provides auto repairs for less then other shops in the area.
Below is the article as it appeared on The Register-Herald website.
Garages show opposition to new Action Auto Repair
By Jim Workman
BECKLEY One can count Mark Creager of Creager Auto Repairs Services and Creager Tire on Second Street in Beckley as being opposed to the newly opened Action Auto Repair, a garage operated by the Raleigh County Community Action Association.
And he’s not alone.
“The other local garages, Bailey’s Auto Repair, AC Auto Repair, Dean’s Auto Repair any of the shops I’ve talked to everyone I’ve talked to, and I’ve called a pile of them, have stressed a concern over this,” Creager said. “Raleigh County Community Action is getting into competition with local garages, myself included. I’ve been here for 25 years serving the people of Raleigh County and surrounding areas. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of it. They have signs all over town promoting this (new) garage. Well, Raleigh County Community Action is supposed to be a not-for-profit deal. It’s not supposed to be about garages and things like that.”
“I don’t know a lot about it, but it’s a little upsetting to know that taxes are being used to compete against us,” said Keith Bailey, owner of Bailey’s Auto Repair on Market Road. “I’d like to know how I can get some help. I’d like to be on a list for funding. I could use some new equipment myself. It’d be nice. Everybody could use some help with their taxes, too.”
“I support the Raleigh County Community Action Association because they provide a lot of great services to our community,” said Michael Yon, owner of AC Auto Repair in Beaver. “If the garage was intended to work on their own vehicles and service low-income people, more power to them. But the fact that they’re also working on vehicles in the general public, that changes my outlook on it. If they’re using county funds, that isn’t right to me. No one gave us a stimulus package. We have debts, our equipment isn’t paid for. It puts a sour taste in your mouth.”
The RCCAA involvement is the sticking point, Creager contends.
“They had a government credit card which enabled them to purchase equipment and everything else,” he said. “If I didn’t have to pay for my equipment here …
“All of my employees here have insurance, life insurance and retirement, which I pay for,” Creager added. “I don’t have anybody else paying that for me. That comes off of my end. But they have the government gold card. They can go to town on it. That’s sweet.
“It’s typical of an organization not being properly watched. They’re getting into fields they shouldn’t get into. Community action is not about getting into business.”
Part of the competition problem is the reduced hourly rates offered at Action Auto Repair, Creager said.
“They’re undercutting every shop in town,” he said. “I can’t operate at those rates. But they don’t have the overhead we do. They had a government credit card and didn’t have to pay for their equipment. I have $54,000 in an alignment machine. I spend thousands and thousands of dollars on equipment.”
“I could work a lot cheaper if I were funded, too,” Bailey added. “It concerns me.”
Dean Waddell of Dean’s Auto Repair on Second Street expressed his concerns as well.
“I was shocked when I heard about it,” he said. “I used to do work for the Raleigh County Community Action Association. Then I tried to get them to buy me out and have me just work on their vehicles. I think that’s where they got the idea to open a garage. But I didn’t think they could open a shop to the public. The next thing I knew, they had opened a garage. I never imagined they’d do that. It’s in competition against us. I guess that kind of bit me in the butt.
“The competition hasn’t hurt me so far, knock on wood,” Waddell added. “I don’t think people want students working on their vehicles. They prefer someone that knows what they’re doing. I’ve had a couple of students come to work for me, but they never worked out. And I can’t believe that they’d let a student work on a school bus that other kids will be riding on. But that’s up to them.”
Is there a fair resolution in the local garage owners’ opinion?
“What should be done, instead of going into competition against us, they should subsidize the low-income people and say, ‘We’ll pay this much on their bill, and these are the approved dealers,’” Creager suggested. “We’ve worked with them before and the welfare department and did repairs for cars. They had vouchers. The system worked fine. But they’re not just working on low-income ones, they’re also going after the others and using our tax dollars to do it.
“We’ve done ours on our own nickel and our own sweat. And now they’re trying to compete against us with our own sweat money.
“I would like to see some accountability. I’d like to hear how they think this is fair to use my dollars to go against me.
“I don’t have a problem with fair competition,” Creager added. “But don’t use my money to compete with me. I didn’t support any of the other guys around here and didn’t give them money to open up their garages or buy their equipment, nor did they pay for mine. It’s a fair marketplace.”
“I think the county commission ought to come to the business owners and let us know what’s going on,” Bailey said.
To read this article on The Register-Herald website, visit http://www.register-herald.com/local/x1008078388/Garages-show-opposition-to-new-Action-Auto-Repair.
To read other articles about Action Auto Repair in Beckley, WV, visit:
Repair Shop Offers Discounted Repairs to Low-Income Families [VIDEO]
Director of Government-Funded Repair Shop Reacts to Shop Owner Complaints