Hard to find but worth the effort – Whitlock’s Garage

There is a garage in Floyd, VA that provides far better service for my Dodge B3500 Van than I ever got from the biggest Dodge Dealer in Charlottesville, VA.

Whitlock’s garage appears to violate every marketing rule except one, and it has been operating in the same location for 45 years!

That might give you a clue that Mac Whitlock really understands how to provide customer satisfaction. His business model does not depend on signage, architecturally clever building exteriors, or landscaped grounds. His operation is focused on providing a superior customer experience in the form of a correctly repaired vehicle.
Whitlocksgarage10

You cannot find this place without directions and it is several miles from the nearest main road. The sign is so small, you have to drive up in front of the building to see what it says. The exterior shows signs of extensive patching and the landscaping will never win the fancy garage award. But, when you walk inside, you get competent service using the latest in technology and they can handle vehicles of great size.

Unlike the Charlottesville Dodge dealership I described in Fumble, Stumble, and Fail, Whitlock’s personnel are competent! Every single one of them! They could tell me immediately what they could handle and what they couldn’t.

When they handled something, it stays handled! For example, they fixed a long-term heavy, clunking noise in the rear end in minutes, which my old Dodge dealer could never seem to find!

My Charlottesville Dodge Dealer with its smartly uniformed staff and a million dollar facility had struggled for 2 and 1/2 years to deal with this problem and had failed to fix it even after I had spent more than $500 on one retrofit after another. They were so inept at preventative maintenance that it cost me a $4000 engine job with several trips back to fix what they broke during the repair.

So what is the difference? Whitlock’s garage seems to put attention on fixing vehicles, not on fancy facilities. I was able to ask questions and get clear answers from David Radford and Mac Whitlock. From my old Dodge Dealer, I got a lot of glib assurances and spotty service.

On the other hand, we have a Subaru and we received excellent service in Charlottesville and in Roanoke from Subaru dealers with neatly groomed staff and spotless shops.

If all car dealers in this area operated at that level, Whitlock’s business might be confined to farm tractors and large trucks. Fortunately for us, Mac Whitlock  provides good service at a great price and he is only a few miles away…as the crow flies.

If you need vehicle service in the Floyd area, get somebody to tell you how to get to either end of Huckleberry Ridge Road. Drive until you see the building in the photo and tell them I sent you.

The address is 1075 Huckleberry Ridge Road NE in Floyd, VA and the phone number is 540-745-3585. They are good people.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Hard to find but worth the effort – Whitlock’s Garage

  1. fletch says:

    These types of businesses are absolutely the best, but often the only way to find them is by word-of-mouth. The nature of the business doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the character of the owner which also reflects in the employees. In my own experience, I know of a used car dealer in a very rural area who has made a handsome living based solely on local reputation. Another case is a restaurant located in a rural, economically depressed area but has waiting lines outside the door on weekends because folks will drive from 30 miles around just to eat there, all with no advertising.

  2. Dave says:

    In this rural area of SW Virginia all the glitz of urban life means little. “Word of mouth” takes on a whole new dimmension around here. A good reputaion is a business owners most valuable assset.

  3. GBGames says:

    I’m almost tempted to drive out there from Chicago to get my car fixed. B-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twenty eight ÷ 14 =