Edmond’s diverse automotive industry
A quick drive through Edmond reveals the automotive industry is strong here with dealerships lining Broadway Street and just as many or more independently-owned automotive repair centers scattered throughout the city.
Here’s a look at just a few of these local shops and the customers and brands they serve.
It’s been said that when it comes to the service industry, especially in regard to anything requiring maintenance and repair, fixing the problem is only half the job. The other half is educating the user. This is a concept the people at Autoworks take to heart.
Family-owned Autoworks specializes in Japanese car repair, fixing brands like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Lexus, Acura, and everything in between.
“We train our customers,” said Sheryl Janis, Autoworks part-owner with her husband Joe, explaining how they do business with their clients.
Janis said since they opened the business back in 1984, the shop has always strived to help their customers understand maintenance needs, giving new clients and new drivers maintenance schedules when they first come in the door and keeping them informed of any work to be done.
“We do (our work) depending on mileage,” said Janis, saying the shop staff warns their clients about upcoming costs as their customers’ vehicles accrue miles. “We don’t like to surprise our customers.”
When other problems occur requiring repair work, Autoworks makes a point to be sure the customer knows what is wrong, along with options for fixing the issue.
“If you don’t understand, we will explain it.”
For the Janis family, opening and running the shop is almost the continuation of a family legacy of work in the automotive industry as Janis’ father worked as a mechanic.
After attending college to become a CPA, Janis’s husband Joe, took up the mantle from her father. After spending time working with him in his shop and discovering he liked turning wrenches, Janis officially changed his career choice by attending tech school. After completion and working a number of years at some of the local dealerships servicing Japanese cars, he and Cheryl decided to open their own business to maintain and repair the same.
By then, they had a six-year-old, a two-year-old, and a newborn.
“We brought our kids with us and made it work,” said Janus. Since then, the shop has moved locations to its new building located on the 200 block of 1st Street in Edmond.
“I think we have a lot of trust, especially with women, maybe because I am here,” said Cheryl, explaining how in the automotive repair industry, people tend to be skeptical of their mechanics.
“So, we try to help them and always be upfront and honest about their repairs so they are not surprised.”
Motorwerks is a local, independently-owned Edmond automotive repair center specializing in BMWs and Mini Coopers, but servicing Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, McLaren, Porsches, Audis, and very recently Teslas to a minor extent.
Owner Mical George said he started the business after working as a master technician for the local BMW and Mini Cooper dealer and noticed Edmond did not have an independent repair facility for those brands.
George began tinkering in cars at around age 14, but first held a job as a technician at Mitsubishi. After a few years there, a friend introduced him to the BMW dealership, and it was there he found what would be his home for ten years working on BMWs.
“The cars are incredible and, I feel like, the highest end of Europeans cars,” he said, explaining his affinity for the German car brand.
But, it was in 2013, after 13 years as a dealer technician, George decided to branch out and start his own operation.
“A lot of people didn’t think it was a good idea, but here we are,” he said, saying now eight years later, not only has his business grown and moved to its current location off Kelley Ave., he will soon expand again to add a few more work bays.
“We are still the only (independent repair center) here,” said George.
Not only does his shop provide service for European car owners in the Oklahoma City metro area, but also to customers in other parts of Oklahoma and bordering states.
“We have clients coming from Arkansas, Texas, and all over Oklahoma, even Tulsa,” said George.
He attributed his success to his shop’s quality work and cheaper repair costs compared to area dealerships, saying every one of his technicians is a master technician with at least 10 years of work experience at the local dealership and that his shop provides the same warranty as the dealerships.
“We offer the same quality of work, if not better,” said George, adding even the dealership sends some of their work to his shop.
He remarked how at Motorwerks, a customer often can talk to the technician about the work being completed on their vehicle if they have questions, something not commonly seen at dealerships.
“Here you are getting a more personal experience,” said George.
He said one feature he likes about his shop is the large floor-to-ceiling window that separates the customer waiting area from the shop.
“People can sit and watch their cars being worked on while they wait. People really enjoy that experience,” said George.
Whereas many independent shops focus on servicing only European, Asian, or domestic cars, locally-owned Metric Motors provides servicing for all three origins of vehicles.
When the shop first opened in 1981, Metric Motors focused primarily on imports. Of those, Porsches and Audis weren’t around Edmond much, nor were there any dealerships, said Owner Mike Higgins.
Since then, as Japanese vehicles became more popular and as many import-owning customers owned domestics as well, Metric Motors grew to add Japanese and US-made vehicles to their repertoire. Eight years ago, the shop added a technician to handle domestic vehicles.
“Since then, the line has blurred over between the two (domestics and imports),” remarked Higgins, explaining how many American car brands are made overseas and vice-versa.
Only recently did Metric Motors begin advertising service on domestic vehicles.
As Metric Motors over its 40 years of business has adapted to the market, the business is changing again to embrace the newer hybrid and electric vehicle technology, according to Higgins, saying Metric Motors now services Tesla vehicles.
“We have a deal we are working with (Tesla) so we can become a Tesla service center,” he said, adding how even now one of his technicians is certified for hybrids and electrics.
Higgins said he started turning wrenches as a Yamaha motorcycle mechanic at age 19, moving on to cars as they supplied more steady work than the more seasonal motorcycles. After working on autos for another independent import shop for several years, Higgins opened his own business near downtown Edmond, six years later moving to his current location at 2608 S. Broadway St.
Now, 34 years later, he leaves the wrenches to his technicians and focuses more on interfacing with customers and walk-ins and handling the administrative side of the business.
Higgins said his clients really trust him, and while he is a big supporter of preventative maintenance, the shop also believes in the, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” principle.
He explained how customers come to him with laundry lists of maintenance items from dealerships.
“(Dealerships) make recommendations not by looking at anything, but by looking at mileage. We don’t do that. Our work is based on visual inspection.”
“Our customers trust us,” said Higgins. “I have people come in with a signed check and say, ‘Do whatever you need, and I’ll pick it up.’”
Customers also come back for his coffee, which he roasts in the back of his shop and serves in the coffee pot in the lobby, something he has been doing for 10 years.
“One of my mechanics got into roasting. I tried it, and I was like ‘Wow!’ So, I began roasting and brewing for my customers.”
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About Thomas Berger
Thomas Berger is the owner of Ciskus Creative, an Edmond-based creative agency focused on creating marketing content for small and medium-sized businesses.
Prior to starting his own company, he worked as the communications/marketing specialist for an Oklahoma City-based office technology company. Former to coming to the Oklahoma City area, he had worked as a career journalist for more than a decade — initially reporting for several newspapers in western North Carolina and northeastern Oklahoma and later as a multimedia journalist for KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa.
Thomas has lived in Edmond with his wife Alison since 2013. He has a passion for traveling, photography, learning languages, landscaping and coffee roasting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Carolina University.