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Thriving with a Niche Service

Thriving with a Niche Service

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Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

Did you know that Volvo’s first plant outside of Sweden was opened in Canada? Or that the final screw on Canada’s first Volvo was tightened with a golden screwdriver wielded by Sweden’s Prince Bertil? Another first for the brand involves Sandy Lane Auto. It was among the first repair shop in Canada to specialize in Volvo. From Brett Morgan’s grandfather opening the doors in 1968 to the evolution of the shop today – where all European and specialty vehicles are serviced – Sandy Lane Auto has been on quite a ride.

And it’s just getting started.

Business in Edmonton was pleased to bring you the story of Sandy Lane Auto on it’s 50th anniversary. Now, five year later, we catch up with the brand again to see what has changed.

One of the biggest changes is ownership. Joe Glumpak is the owner of Sandy Lane Auto South while Tony Glumpak owns and operates Sandy Lane Auto West.
“We remain a family-owned business,” says Joe. “Our father joined Sandy Lane in 1975 and became a minority partner in the 80s. Brett was the third generation of Morgans in the business and Tony and I are the second generation of Glumpaks.”

While ownership has changed over the years, both families have members on the team in various roles.

“One of the major changes is learning how to flex with the times, meet customer needs and stay afloat along with everyone else,” smiles Tony, and Joe agrees. COVID changed the business landscape, especially for businesses in which face-to-face client interaction was key. However, Tony adds, “We were more fortunate than most on the supply chain side of things. We have a huge market of customers in mainly European vehicles; most of our parts come from Europe. The main challenge was in providing the highest level of customer service with the most minimal amount of in-person contact.”

That did not slow down Sandy Lane Auto. The team adapted, overcame and continued to provide the automotive repair, vehicle inspections, maintenance and tires for which they have been known for more than 50 years.

Vehicles and customer preferences have changed during that time. Joe notes, “In addition to repairs, maintenance and tires, some people want more performance from their vehicles. We also do custom tuning for fuel economy.”
Customer education is a priority too. Tony and Joe explain, “We take a three-pronged approach of safety, reliability and maintenance. When we educate our customers, we say, ‘this is going keep you safe and keep you on the road. This is what will give longevity to this vehicle.’ Doing scheduled maintenance will cost you less over the long run and stands between you and those emergency $4,000 repair bills. If you only change the oil five times in a Land Rover and you have over 100,000 kilometres on it, you are going to need a new engine!”

Facebook, Yelp and Google reviews prove that customers like this educational approach. Joe points out that other reasons for customer satisfaction include Sandy Lane Auto living its core values daily: teamwork, integrity, relationships, communication and empowerment.

“We also have a key mentality of continuous learning. We empower our team to keep learning and engaging in new technology. We are very fortunate to have wonderful suppliers that provide avenues for education.”

Giving back to the community is a very important aspect for both shops. On the south side, Joe and his team support Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), The Mustard Seed and Lurana Shelter. On the north side, Tony’s team supports the Special Olympics, local shelters and programs that promote family literacy.

The brothers thank their teams, customers, vendors, founders and manufacturers for 55 wonderful years, and both have a special thank you for their father, John.

“I am where I am today and know what I know because of him,” says Joe.

Tony agrees, adding, “I’m in the same position. He told me to stay out of this industry because it is such an incredible amount of work.” Tony laughs, “I wasn’t very good at listening when I was younger. Even so, he was instrumental in getting me to a certain level in this career. I came to realize that it is a lot of work, but I love it. I also want to thank the Morgan family. They started the business three generations ago and were careful stewards of it. They took the brand from a gas station/convenience store to what it is today. It is really nice to see something of this kind that has lasted this long and spanned so many generations.”
What comes next for Sandy Lane Auto? Both Joe and Tony do not hesitate to say, “growth.”

“We are busy and that means there are a lot of people we are not yet helping. So, we will focus on expansion but only with the right techs in place that fit with Sandy Lane Auto’s vision, core values and corporate culture. We are so fortunate be able to use a wrench on older vehicles and computer diagnostics on the newer ones. Our industry is about transitions and change. Sandy Land Auto continues to grow and adapt without ever losing sight of our primary goal – exceptional, experienced customer service.”

South Side Location
Contact Sandy Lane South
Phone: 780-469-0075
Fax: 780-465-4958

West End Location
Contact Sandy Lane West
Phone: 780-733-0075
Fax: 780-482-0076

Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm\Saturday & Sunday: closed

Learn More at www.sandylaneauto.com

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