Running Smoothly: Behind the Scenes at Auto Extreme
“It was just time for a change,” Leah Jaques says when asked how she ended up working in the autobody industry. After 25 years in the food and beverage industry — including every aspect of the business from nightclubs to restaurants to major concessions and bars — she was ready to switch things up. Three years ago, she brought her extensive customer service experience to Auto Extreme, a small locally-owned autobody shop.
In 2004, Tim and Wade Probe — under the umbrella of the PRI Group of Companies which also owns the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott — teamed up with local football fixture Larry Mueller to establish Auto Extreme autobody shop. Drawing on their 30 years of experience in residential and commercial property management, and their high standards of quality and service, the Probe’s brought a new spin to the autobody business in Regina.
The economic downturn created a need for change, and consistent with the Probe’s history of making what is old new again, the autobody shop acquired new leadership with a renewed strategic focus. “Leah came to our team with a focus on service that was the same as our values. We teamed her up with some key experts in corporate development and we reinvented ourselves. We came out of the gate stronger and look at us now. The turnaround is incredible,” says Wade.
Leah didn’t stop there. Her confidence and skill helped her learn the industry fast and identify opportunities to carve out a niche market. “She never missed a chance to make things more efficient and organized, and always took on more responsibility. After just a year and a half, she was promoted to general manager,” Wade adds. “Tell her what you want to be done and she’ll do it 10 times better than you can imagine.”
Recognizing that Auto Extreme was about the customer, Leah created a team concept that includes the customer in the process — and every detail of the business exudes this new focus. “It’s how we do business. We do it with the customer. As a result, the customer comes back and refers others to us,” says Leah. “The biggest change in mindset in the industry is to meet or exceed the customer’s quality and service expectations.”
Under Leah’s guidance, a new standard of service and operating procedures emerged. “We have come a long way. Now, we are an example of what it means to be a well-run shop according to our discussions with SGI. They used us as a second tier trial of the new system they rolled out this past February," she adds.
“Our company embraces a strong farm value system. It’s why we joined forces with Marriott, and it’s how we build our all areas of our business,” says Wade. “Leah has done this in spades. She really does the job of three people and makes it look easy — from general management and operational control to bookkeeping and public relations. People come to our location because of her and the team. As a result, we had one of our best years ever last year.”
“Basically the only thing Leah she doesn’t do is work on cars,” adds Tim Probe. “She leaves that to journeyman bodyman Don Antosh and painter Trevor Smulan, who are experts in their fields. She and the team have made us a poster child for small autobody shops in the province.”
“We are proud of Leah’s leadership and her volunteer involvement in the community. An avid animal lover, a supporter of the Understand Us campaign, and a cancer survivor, you can always count on her to lend a hand,” says Tim. “Thanks to her and the team, every customer who comes through our door will have the experience of a lifetime.”
1717 South Railway Street
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