If you’re fond of sand dunes, salty air and quaint little villages, then you’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.
And chances are, if you find yourself on this spectacular stretch of the Atlantic Coast, you’ll be thinking warm-water bathing in Nantucket Sound and long, carefree walks along the beach, not car care.
But car trouble happens, even in idyllic resorts. And if you ever need your vehicle fixed while on the Cape, count on Geoff Hicks, manager of the Teaticket Road Midas shop in East Falmouth, a short ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard.
Located on Route 28, Hicks’ shop is racking up rave reviews and some of the highest customer satisfaction scores among the 1,700-plus Midas shops across the U.S. and Canada.
His secret? He knows that he is the last person you want to see.
“I always imagine that I’m standing in the customers’ shoes, seeing things from their viewpoint,” Hicks explained. “I’m sympathetic to the fact that a visit to a car repair shop is not how people want to spend their time on the Cape or anywhere else. I understand that they’re worried about their car, and how much it’s going to cost.”
Hicks works hard to alleviate the worry. Stop by his neat, clean, well-organized shop (“If there’s nothing for me to trip over, then there’s nothing for my customers to trip over,” says Hicks) and you’re guaranteed a warm welcome from his sharp-looking crew, along with fresh-brewed Colombian coffee.
He opens promptly at 7:30 a.m., six days a week, but if you need to be somewhere, he has an “early bird” box. Leave your keys, get on with your day, and he’ll call you with an estimate. OK the work, and by the time you return, your car will be ready.
Or bring your laptop, and you can browse the web while waiting, thanks to complimentary Wi-Fi service. And Hicks, who honors all competitor coupons, will direct you to discounts on the shop’s website.
You can get practically anything fixed at the shop, which offers a range of services, including tires, exhaust, brakes, steering and suspension, batteries, climate control, oil changes, general maintenance, you name it. One-stop convenience are the watchwords.
But what really sets the shop apart is the vehicle inspection.
“With every service, we first conduct a free, thorough Courtesy Check, after which I invite my customers to look at the car, so I can explain every issue, whether it’s the original problem or something we found,” said Hicks. “I take as much time as they need, asking, ‘am I being clear and explaining everything to your complete satisfaction?’”
Having delivered the prognosis, the team leaves the decisions to the customer. Need time to think about it? Want to take care of only the safety-related issues? Need to reschedule for later when you can better budget these things?
It’s your car and your call.
“Geoff takes a personal interest in each customer and what needs to be done to best help them,” said shop owner Terry Flaherty. “He does the right thing for his customers, always under-promising and over-delivering.”
With an average tenure of 10 years, Hicks’ team has a reputation for service, and you’ll likely hear customers ask for them by name. Look around the waiting area, and you’ll see “ASE Certified” signs, indicating Auto Service Excellence, an industry accreditation that tells you these technicians are top notch. In Hicks’ case, he’s even an ASE Master Technician, a designation that requires long years of study and experience.
Even so, Hicks doesn’t always use his powers for good; he’s known locally not just for fixing cars but also destroying them. An avid NASCAR fan, he rigs old vehicles to race at the Barnstable County Demolition Derby, including some donated by long-time, loyal customers.
“One family had been bringing a Buick in for over 15 years,” he said. “Dad used it for years, then mom, then the kids drove it into the ground. When it was finally beyond repair, the family suggested I fix it up for one last spin at the derby. Then they came out to watch me destroy it.”
Rest assured, Hicks will take better care of your car . . .