Tell me more about that second location!

It's that time again!

Where I tell you more about that second location of ours coming soon in Auburn. We love how excited everyone is, because we are too. Sadly, we aren’t open yet, but hope to have the grand opening later this year. Don’t worry though, I’ve got some updates to share and other fun information. First, the building is now officially empty of all of the prior owners equipment and stuff. The auction was a huge success, and we sold everything. Now that the building is empty, demolition is underway in preparation for construction. We also have a landscaper that we’ve hired to keep the property in a better maintained exterior state. While the visible changes have been minimal, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. 

Give me the behind the scenes details!

To start, we have our lifts purchased and waiting to be installed once the site is ready. Considering there is about an 8 to 16 week lead time on lifts, this is a pretty big challenge that we don’t have to worry about. They’ll be eagerly awaiting to be installed, leaving us to rest easy knowing we don’t have delivery delays. We’ve finalized our new workstation layout, and are on the production schedule for mid Summer. All of our workstations are 100% American made, and they are even fairly local! If you’ve seen our new press area boxes and benches, you’ll recognize the brand as Champion Tool Storage. Champion Tool Storage is based in Hood River, Oregon and they produce their boxes right there in their own factory. I went down to their facility in November for a production line tour and to see the products first hand. I was impressed with what I saw, and decided that they would be our new provider for workstations and other cabinet and bench needs. Their product quality is exceptional, and their customer service is top notch as well. As a local business, we want to support local business too, and Champion is in our own region so we count it! Plus, eventually we’ll have a location closer than a few hours away from them (No official time line, this is a non binding agreement, terms and conditions apply, 18 years or older, ask a parent or guardian before asking us when this will be open).

So what's next?

Getting through the permitting process and getting construction started. Demolition work is currently underway, and we are scheduling giving the building a nice fresh look with new paint. There is also the matter of hiring and training staff for the new location, but that will wait until we have a better idea of when we can be open. Sadly there is just no way for us to predict an opening date at the moment. We know everyone is looking forward to the new location, and we are too! The moment we have an opening day, we’ll be spreading the news! Another way to stay informed? Check out our Auburn page by clicking here for the latest and greatest.

Employee Appreciation!

Sometimes we go have some fun and throw an employee appreciation day. This year we went and played in the dirt and mud over at Dirtfish in Snoqualmie! We did their 1 day RWD class and all had a blast. Learning the basics of rally driving and then applying it to some of their basic course layouts was a great way to spend a day. We had perfect weather conditions – rain but no showers leading to optimal sliding, and many smiles had. It’s great when we can partner with another awesome PNW company to enjoy an appreciation event. We look forward to returning to Dirtfish again someday!

Can't Wait For Auburn To Open To Work On Your Car? Schedule An Appointment In Kirkland Now!

What’s the latest on Auburn?

What's The Latest On The Auburn Location?

I’m glad you asked! We made a special page just for this question that will be updated regularly to reflect the progress being made. But I will also take some time to go over what that latest news is, and what’s on the horizon for the new location. We are still numerous months away from being open, and we appreciate your patient excitement! You can get to that page by clicking here, or clicking Auburn in the main menu.

The equipment liquidation auction happens February 23rd to March 2nd online at James G. Murphy. When we took over the space, we took on the challenge of liquidating all the old tools and equipment from the previous business. If you have any interest in some of the stuff, check out the auction listing by clicking here!

We are in the process of hiring a contractor to do the improvement work to the space. It was originally built in the late 80s, and needs some updating. We plan to bring in 40+ new light fixtures, 20+ drops of additional power outlets, a whole new air piping system, and a lot more in the shop area. We will also be constructing a new office/reception area complete with storage for stocked parts. 

Lastly, some signage has gone up! We’ve got our coming soon temporary banner on our big sign on Auburn Way. We’re in the process of getting the permanent one done, and adding some signage to the building. We’ve got more in store for the exterior that we’ll be ready to share later!

What About Improvements To The Kirkland Location?

Don’t you worry, we’d never forget about the Kirkland location! We’ve recently completed phase 1 of the upgrade to the back area that has the press, vise, and other equipment. It used to be semi organized chaos back there, but now it’s much cleaner and better setup for your use. This was a big request in the feedback survey we ran in October, so it was a priority for us to address. We added an additional 20 ton hydraulic press to ease waiting for the press when we have multiple people who need one. We’ve also organized our press tools into a 48″ wide toolbox that’s right there in the press room. Less time wasted digging around for tooling is the goal. 

On top of that, we’ve added another vise to the area, as well as a better drill press, new grinder wheels, and a belt sander. We also purchased a portable band saw that will come in handy for cutting all sorts of things. Our goal was to make the area match our bays for the quality of tools, equipment, and organization. We think you’ll enjoy using this space when you come in and need to use it!

Loyalty Program Coming Soon™

I don’t have many details to share, but once again this was a popular request in the feedback survey. I’ve evaluated multiple of the top loyalty management systems, and we are in the process of selecting one and setting up a program. In keeping with the theme of this blog post, it’s coming soon! What I can tell you is that it will be a points system, and there will be multiple ways to earn points. There will be the typical ways of points earned per spend, as well as referral points rewards. The plan is for the points to essentially be a cash credit system, where the points you earn can be redeemed as credit on your invoice when you’d like to use it. We look forward to what we can offer with this loyalty system, as I think it will address a few of the requests from the feedback survey. As for a timeline, I don’t have an exact date, but I can say it is going to be no later than June. We are actively working on this, and will launch it after some testing to make sure it works well for both us and you. 

Are You Offering Classes Yet?

We are preparing to start classes again soon. We’ve done some private classes for local clubs recently, and they’ve been well received by their members. This has allowed us to fine tune how we would like to teach classes, and how many people we can work with at one time. We are working on creating a monthly class schedule that will teach a lot of the basics of auto repair. There are no dates yet, but we expect this to be announced in the next 2 months. There will be limited number of spots available as when the group gets too big, it makes it difficult to teach in an impactful way. Be sure to keep an eye out for this announcement, as when the class fills up, we won’t be able to add spots.  

Need to work on your car? Make an appointment to rent a bay today!

New Year, New Stew’s Location

New Year, New Stew's Self Service Garage Location

What a way to end the year! On December 30th, 2021 we signed a lease on a building in Auburn, WA! We started this process in September of 2021, and were able to get it across the finish line to end the year. We are so excited to finally add another location, serving an even greater geographic area in Washington. The hunt for a second location has been on going for the past 2-3 years. We’ve primarily focused on going South, for a couple reasons I’ll outline below. We wouldn’t settle for a building that didn’t exactly fit our needs, leading to the search taking some time. I’m happy to say, an ideal location has been found!

Our plan is to operate a total of 10 DIY bays in the space. We plan to have 8 2-post lifts, and 2 4-post lifts. We’ll also be able to have a sizable tool room, and should be able to accommodate more specialty type tools and equipment. There is still a lot of work to do on the building, but we’ll detail that below!

The Search

We started looking for another location about 2-3 years ago. While buildings would pop up in the search, there wasn’t anything really grabbing our attention as an ideal location. We stayed patient and in September 2021 our broker, Matt, came through. The old Stan’s Headers building was hitting the market, and we jumped on top of the opportunity. I got down there and toured it a couple days later and recognized this is what we were looking for. The building would allow direct drive in bays, and we’d be able to have 10 bays. There are other factors that go into the ideal location, but that post would become exceptionally long. It was exciting to tour a building and immediately the vision was there on how a Stew’s Self Service Garage would work there. 

Since it was originally built for an automotive business, there are a lot of things that are in place that will make this building great for us. The parking lot is flat, and the entrance is not steep which will be a welcome sight for those in low cars. The building was built specifically to accommodate direct drive in bays, making getting into a bay a lot easier for people instead of needing to make multi-point turns inside the building. Because it was originally an exhaust shop, they’d run the cars a lot, and this design allows you to easily run a hose to the outside and not have to worry about fuming everyone out inside. Overall, we are loving everything about this building and location!

Why did we focus on looking for a location more in the South end? While we do receive requests to put a garage in numerous locations, South was by far and large the most requested. We also have an existing customer base in the area to help support this location at opening. Both of those factors greatly influenced our decision to make our second location South of our original in Kirkland. I look forward to the success of our South end location, as it will allow us continued expansion throughout the state and greater North West area.

Auburn-Floor-Plan-Basic

What's Next?

We are so incredibly excited to share the news with everyone! What’s next though is a lot of waiting sadly. We are in the process of getting to the permitting stage for the building improvements we need to make. The other thing is liquidating a lot of the equipment and other stuff in the building as we won’t have a use for it. Part of the deal was that we would liquidate all the equipment, so we’ve got some work to do on that front as well. I’d love to be able to share an opening date with you in this blog post, but we aren’t quite ready for that announcement yet. We are on track for a 2022 opening, but we aren’t sure if that will be mid or late 2022 yet. 

There is a lot of work to be done, from building improvements, to tool and equipment purchases, to hiring, and more. There’s lessons to be learned, and mistakes to make, but I’m excited for the new challenge. I wrote the business plan for Stew’s Self Service Garage in my dorm room in the winter of 2012. It took almost 2 years to open the first location, and all I wanted was to just get open and see what would happen. After a few years of operations and learning a lot, I just wanted to get to opening a second location. We are now 7 years past the opening of our first location, and we are getting ready to open the next one. This is an exciting chapter, and I am really looking forward to starting it.

As this is an expansion, our Kirkland location will remain open. You’ll see some minor changes in Kirkland as we test out things for our second location, but it will remain largely the same.

I can’t wait to see you all at the grand opening for Stew’s Self Service Garage in Auburn! For now, I’ll leave you with a gallery of the building as it is now. 

Stew's Self Service Garage Auburn - As Pictured in December 2021

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7 Years Old!

We've made it 7 years!

7 Years is officially in the books for Stew’s Self Service Garage! It’s amazing to reflect every year on not just what we did in the previous year, but also reflecting upon where we started. It’s a very stark contrast from the beginnings to now. We pour any profits we have into upgrading equipment, adding equipment, and doing our best to offer livable wages and amazing benefits to our staff. With our aggressive reinvestment we have upgraded nearly every aspect of the shop area, and many behind the scenes systems to make renting a bay easier. There are still areas of improvement, and there are also things we wanted to get feedback on to see what matters most to you, our amazing clients. We received hundreds of responses from you all, and we have been reading and compiling all the responses over the past weeks to prioritize what we can do to make the service even better. I’m excited to give you all a sneak peak as to what we have already begun working on, and what is to come next. 

Work/Press Area

First, the most neglected area of the garage is certainly our back work area where the press is. For years it has been unorganized and chaotic back there. This was something we’ve been aiming to fix, but kept getting put on the back burner. One of the more requested things from your feedback was to improve that area, and bring it up to par with the work bays. I’m excited to say that we have already begun the efforts to fix that area. We have purchased a large L shaped stainless work bench that will have 2 vises, a drill press, bench grinder, chop saw, and belt sander on it. Below it we will have cabinets for storage, as well as drawer cabinets to house the spare bolts and hardware. We are also adding a 48″ toolbox with stainless steel work surface on top to house all of our press tools. This will provide a final home for all of our press tools, as well as a work area while using the presses. Yes, I said presses, because we are also going to add another 20 ton press. Too many times recently we have had more than 1 person needing the press, leading to wasting your time waiting. The estimated delivery of our new equipment is mid-February, so there is a little bit of a wait. But we promise, it will be very worth it!

Tool Room/Air Compressor

Next, we have moved the air compressor and are in the process of making the tool room bigger. Our air compressor can be noisy when it fires up, and can startle people washing their hands. After reading in multiple responses asking what that noise was, and can we fix it, we knew we needed to take action ASAP. Fortunately we can fix it, and we have moved the air compressor to the back storage area! Now we will have more room for tools, and less noise when it turns on.

This means we will look into providing certain manufacturer specific specialty tools we don’t currently offer. We aim to provide as many tools as we possibly can, so we always enjoy increasing our selection of tools. Since we have been out of room for some time in the tool room, we have had to limit how many more tools we could acquire. We also resisted buying manufacturer specific specialty tools because of the cost associated with them, and their infrequency of use. We will be adding tools that we know will be used most frequently first, and then see how often they are used, and if we will have room for more things. Because now our tool room will hold more than just tools too!

Parts/Consumables

The roadblock keeping us from stocking fluids, parts, and consumables has been space. Our tool room is so small, and was the only fitting place for us to be able to sell this type of thing from. We have maximized what we can fit into it, but it’s not been able to handle anything more for a long time now. But, with the expansion of the tool room, we will now have space to stock more parts, fluids, and consumables! We plan to stock a selection of the common flavors of engine oil, transmission fluids, and gear oils. We are also planning on stocking more crush washers, nuts, bolts, electrical connectors, and lots of other miscellaneous little things that always get lost or forgotten about. Less waiting for a parts store delivery means more wrenching!

Loyalty Program/Membership

I’m grouping many of the similar suggestions together into one category of some form of loyalty or membership program. Discounts, friend referral rewards, a points system, different rates for different days, paid memberships, and a few others all somewhat fit under this umbrella. We’ve said in the past we weren’t ready to do one, or that we didn’t know how we would implement one, and just put it on the back burner. Since it was the most requested thing when you put all the similar suggestions together, we are now actively determining a best way to implement such a system. It’s important to us to get this right, both from a customer facing side, and an employee facing side. If it isn’t easy to use for everyone, it just isn’t going to work well. As we get further down the road with how we want to do it, we’ll be reaching out again asking what specifically people would like to see from it. For now, I promise it is something that is coming soon, and it is actively being worked on. We are targeting sometime in the first half of 2022 to have this completed. This one may take more time as we dial in an exact implementation and make sure we are offering what you want to see in a program.

Classes

In the past we have run classes on our own, and with car clubs. When we’ve run them on our own, participation was close to non-existent. It was a strong request in the survey, so we will revisit it in some form or fashion. We love to see that people want to receive more education on car repair! We will be following up on this to find out more specifically what people would like to learn so we are offering classes tailored to what you want. Expect to see something in early 2022 from us about it.

Online Scheduling

Last, but not least, our online scheduler will be going through changes within the next year. This isn’t something we can change quickly, as there doesn’t seem to be a good way to implement the features people are requesting. We will either need to have our own scheduler program built, or heavily adapt the one we are using for it to meet the needs. In general the way schedulers work is that you input what and when you want to schedule, and then it shows you if it’s available or not. What most people are requesting is somewhat the inverse of that. You’d like to be able to see the availability of each bay for each day up front, and then input what you want to schedule. While this is how it works for us on the employee facing side, it is a little more complicated from the client side. We can’t allow a calendar view on the front end with our current scheduler because it will display your personal information publicly. We’ve been looking at other alternatives, but haven’t found one that offers the features being requested. 

In the meantime, we have implemented a temporary solution, that may become permanent if people like the change that has been made. We will still be searching for a more ideal solution, but we hope this change is welcomed. We have made it so you can select 2 post, or 4 post lifts and that will allow you to let the scheduler choose the first available lift of that type. From there you can select how much time you’d like, and you can leave the bay selection as ‘Any’ to let it pick for you, or pick a bay you’d like and then schedule. This should reduce the amount of back and forth for you when making an appointment.

Doing an Inspection

The Vehicle Safety Inspection

Doing a vehicle safety inspection is critical for road safety. It can save you from having an expensive break down, and hopefully prevent you being stranded on the side of the road. There are numerous different things to check, but they can be checked fairly quickly. We put together a checklist for you to make doing the inspection systematic for you, and to keep you on task. 

The check list is broken into sections, and each section has parts that are all related to each other. This will also allow you to do things in pieces if you want. You can do one whole section at a time, even across different days if you know that other parts in other sections are good. 

Our experts on staff can’t do an inspection for you, but we can answer questions you have. We recommend checking out 2 Car Pros by clicking here to learn more about how to actually do the inspection. On their site you can research each section of the inspection to learn more about it and how to identify issues.

A Stew’s Garage Summer

A Fresh Stew's Garage Shirt!

It’s been many many years since we have had a new style of shirt. What better way than to immortalize Rick’s legendary van with it’s own Stew’s Self Service Garage t-shirt. Notably, these will not be working shirts, they are premium tri-blend shirts. They are awesome for wearing any time, you might just not want to get them dirty is all. If you want one, be sure to act fast as these are going to be a limited time offering. They will be available for pre-order for 2 weeks (8/24/2020), and after that we will send them off for printing. If you don’t order during pre-order they will not be available again after that. 

The detail level of this shirt is what really stands out. You have the duct taped window, perfectly recreated in silhouette. There is also the front shade on the windshield, the roof rack, and the all important Stew’s Self Service Garage decal. Click here to buy yours now before they are all gone.

When it Rains Suspension, it Pours Suspension

July was full of suspension jobs! Something that is interesting is that similar jobs always come in waves. For the entire month of July it seemed everyone was either putting lift kits on, or coil overs to go lower. By far it was the most popular job we saw through the month. Typically we’ll see a lot of the same job types over a few week period. For example we’ll see a bunch of clutch jobs all over the period of a few weeks. Or we’ll see lots of fluid changes, or exhaust jobs. While people do all sorts of different jobs here, there is always one job type that is more prevalent over the month than any others. We sometimes wonder why that is, since everyone drives different, and has their cars serviced at different intervals. Some how, some way they all seem to find a common time to do a common job though! Just a fun observation.

This RV is LARGE and in Charge

This is by far the biggest vehicle we’ve had at Stew’s Self Service Garage. This RV measured in at just over 24ft, and just under 14,000lbs. They were on a road trip out here in the Seattle area and needed to fix their power steering pump before driving back across the country. We don’t blame them, having to manually steer this beast would be one hell of a work out! Fortunately they were able to find us on the ol’ google machine and were able to talk with us and confirm that it would fit before coming in. After we knew it was going to just fit, we said come on in and Be Your Own Mechanic! They were able to get the new pump in, and get back on the road home.

A Fond Customer Farewell

This turbo Silverado has been coming to our garage for a couple years now. It’s owned by a soon to be retired from the US Navy sailor. He will be heading back home once he is officially out of the Navy. He brought it in recently once last time to make sure it was road trip ready. The US military brings all sorts of awesome individuals and families to our area, and we love to be able to see them and their vehicles here at our garage. We also provide all active and former military members with a 15% discount on all services as a token of our appreciation. We appreciate the Navy bringing him to the Seattle area, and we wish him well on his next journey out of the Navy!

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Return Of The Blog

A Grand Return!

Stew’s Self Service Garage returned to business May 18th after a 2 month closure. The good news was we were extremely prepared for a shut down, though we had planned on it never happening. We had multiple months of expenses in the bank just in case we would ever need it. We were excited to re-open our garage doors to everyone and let people get back to working on their cars. Since we’ve opened we have stayed fairly busy, and have been happy to see a lot of you come in to work on your car! While we were closed we even found time to make some improvements, and catch up on maintenance.

Upgraded Tool Room!

We took advantage of the time while we were closed to make some updates to our tool room. We completely reorganized it to streamline getting tools out to you. We brought in an additional tool box for even more storage as we continue to add more and more tools. The biggest change is that now every tool has a set location, which means no more “well it was here last time” while we try and get a tool to you. There are some more additions and updates we plan on making to the tool room, but we are far more organized now!

In addition to the tool room, we made some improvements elsewhere to the shop. We repainted all of the bay stripes, and added additional centering stripes for the lifts. This makes it easier to tell where your bay ends, and the next begins to do your best at social distancing. The centering stripes should make it easier to guide you into the bay to be lined up with the lifts! 

Staying Sanitized

We also have a COVID safety plan to do our absolute best to keep everyone as safe as possible while in our garage. We are sanitizing most surfaces in the bay after each person leaves with an EPA registered disinfectant. This includes the workbench, lift controls, and other commonly touched surfaces in the bay. We are also wiping down our credit card terminal and waiver tablet between uses. Surfaces not as regularly used are also being wiped down hourly with a sanitizing wipe or sprayed with a disinfecting spray. The state, county, and city have laid out regulations as to what the minimum requirements are, but we want to take it a step further as our commitment to your safety. If you are curious about learning more about our COVID plan you can click here and read more about it.

My Personal Exciting News

During the COVID shutdown I got engaged to my girlfriend, Ally. We’ve been together since our senior year of high school, which has been over 8 and a half years. She’s stuck with me through thick and thin while getting Stew’s Self Service Garage off the ground, and I couldn’t be happier to be getting married to her. It was a bit hectic at the start nailing down a venue and a few other vendors right away. Our wedding is planned for next summer, but we had to compete with a lot of people because of the COVID reschedules. We were fortunate to schedule a venue, and all of our vendors for next summer before reschedules made our first choices unavailable. Now we are through the craziness of wedding planning, and on to the fun stuff. Next July we’ll be celebrating, and I’m looking forward to it!

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The Snowpocalypse is finally over

We had fun filming a new ad!

It had been awhile since we did a video ad, so we decided to do another one. Steve and I were talking about what would be a funny video, and he mentioned the Forest Gump scene where Bubba lists off all the shrimp. We decided if we changed it to hammers, not only would it be fitting, it would probably be pretty funny. So off I went on writing up the script for this video. We got Seth, aka The Talent, to come in on a Wednesday and do some filming. 

This video took about 4 hours to film, even though it’s only 1 minute in length. Each “scene” took multiple practices, and then around 30-40 takes each to get it right. Naturally anytime we are doing anything humorous, there’s a lot of laughing going on. After you get a good take, you still need 2 or 3 more just to make sure you have a perfect one. Needless to say, I have a lot of bloopers that I should probably edit together. After the video is shot, then the longer part begins.

They say in editing for every minute filmed is an hour of editing. There is certainly some truth to this, I spent probably 15 hours or more editing it all together. First step is watching all the clips and finding the best take. After that you need to cut them down so they are timed up perfectly. With the rough edit all together, then comes all the effects afterwards. You have color correcting, anti-flicker, any sort of zooming or panning to add. Of course then you have transitions and audio correction too. With all of that added up then you can do all the titles at the end! Fortunately the titles are the easy part, they take no time at all to do. After it’s all edited, then you have the finished video, which you can view above!

Snowpocalypse came and went

Pictured above is our lot after it was plowed by a private plowing company. At the time that this picture was taken, we had about 8″ of snow on the ground in Kirkland. With the snow effecting the roads, we had no choice but to be closed for quite a few days. This is tough because that doesn’t pay the bills. Fortunately we were able to get back open after the roads were plowed, and get back to being available for everyone. After the great snowpocalypse we had a big spike of people coming in. Fortunately only a couple people were in because of snow damage. Hopefully we are done with snow for the next few years!

And now a for a PSA regarding unsafe vehicles

Ever seen a brake rotor look like this? If you have, and it was on your vehicle, you were being extremely unsafe on the roadway! Obviously brakes are a very important component on the car, but there are certainly other systems you need to be mindful of. It’s very important that your suspension is in good operating condition, as well as the steering, and wheel bearings on the vehicle. Over the winter we’ve seen quite a few cars come in that have been neglected in those areas, and they could have caused a crash. These problems can be avoided by doing regular maintenance, and doing regular checks.

One of the best ways to regularly inspect your car is to do it when you do an oil change. Since you should be changing your oil roughly every 3-5 thousand miles, or every few months. Regular inspections are a great way to make sure nothing ever looks like that brake rotor pictured above. They are machines, they take maintenance and care to keep them running right. So be sure to keep your cars in good operating condition, we don’t need more unsafe cars out there!

UW Husky Basketball Has Been on Fire

It’s certainly been an exciting year to be a UW fan. With the football team playing in the Rose Bowl and the basketball team leading the Pac-12 it’s been fantastic to follow. And with the baseball team coming off of a college world series, I’ve had a lot to cheer about. But basketball is the flavor of the month, and with a good Pac-12 tournament showing they should be in March Madness. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, hopefully they can win out and have a nice 1st seed in the tourny. 

New Year – New Stuff!

Starting the Year with a New Lift!

The new BendPak 4-post in bay 1 may look like the old one but if your wide-body barely squeezed on the old one then you’ll immediately notice the difference. We upgraded the drive on lift in bay 1 to a wider model with 10″ of additional clearance between the posts. Now we have the perfect drive on lift for those low cars that are also wide. Otherwise the lift’s operation and features are the same as you’ve become comfortable with. The old lift ended up going with the lift installers to hopefully live on in another shop.

New Drink Fridge, Extra Cold!

Back by popular demand, we are once again selling drinks! After our vending machine died, we stopped for awhile, trying to find a vending solution that was simple, reliable, and fit the space we had available. That turned out to be a big commercial-grade glass door fridge  instead of a vending machine. This fridge keeps drinks nice and cold at just above freezing, which will be perfect once summer comes around. You can either pay cash or put it on the bill to pay at the end. So much easier than a vending machine. 

We’ll also be able to provide more drink options so be sure to let us know what you’d like! (Mention you saw this post and get a free water) No alcoholic beverages though, our insurance frowns upon consuming alcohol and operating heavy machinery.

 

Big Rolling Jacks for the Big Lift

Have a big vehicle, that’s tall, very long, heavy, and need to get the wheels off? No problem! We added rolling jacks to our big drive on 4-post lift, allowing you to be able to do just that. It does involve a few more steps than using the 2-post, but bay 7’s lift is sturdier and can handle 4,000 lbs more than the 2-post lifts. It also isn’t limited by a top bar, meaning you can take the vehicle up a lot higher so you can stand under it. Many customers choose to go this route for their large vehicles as it is easy to use and very safe. You can do suspension work, brakes, wheel swaps, or whatever you would like with the wheels off.

Edgar Makes The Hall Of Fame

Take the time to watch the video if you haven’t seen it yet. I was a big baseball fan growing up – my room was painted Mariners blue, even the carpet was Mariners blue. Edgar Martinez was my idol and easily my favorite Mariner growing up. I’m a little too young to remember Griffey being a Mariner, so Edgar is who really stuck out to me. I have a huge sticker of him on the wall, his bobble head’s on my shelf, a home run ball from him, and a home run ball from his number retirement weekend. I wore the number 11 on my uniforms through little league, always wanting to be like him. A true legendary right handed hitter, it’s finally come time for him to join the other Hall of Famers in Cooperstown, NY. In late July I’ll make the pilgrimage to the birthplace of baseball to see my childhood idol get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

It took 10 years for him to get the call, needing to receive 75% or more of the vote from the Baseball Writers of America. Many didn’t want to vote for him as they deemed him a partial player. Since Edgar was a designated hitter, they felt by not playing defense, he wasn’t worthy of being inducted. They chose to ignore his pure superiority as a right handed hitter throughout his 18 year career. He was the one who hit “The Double”, arguably the most important play in Mariners history. This lead to the public support to build a new stadium to replace the Kingdome, and in turn keep the Mariners in Seattle. Sometimes Safeco (now T-Mobile field) is referred to ‘the house that Griffey built”, well it was Edgar who brought that run in. So it’s only fitting that he now joins Griffey Jr., the man who scored the winning run on that hit in the Hall of Fame. 

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Bay 1

Bay 1 is a 4-post lift (drive on style). Perfect for fluid changes or other quick tasks that do not require you to remove the wheels.

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Bays 2-6

Bays 2-6 are 2-post lifts (lifts from jack points). These allow you to remove the wheels and do nearly any mechanical job.

class b motorhome on bendpak HD-14 4 post lift at stew's self service garage

Bay 7

Bay 7 is a heavy duty 4-post lift (drive on style) with a 14,000 lb capacity. This bay is perfect for large vehicles that don't need the wheels off.

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

2018 was great. Now for 2019!

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We had some big changes in 2018

A new lift in Bay 2 was a good way to start the new year. We decided to try lifts other than Bendpak because we wanted to see which lift brand fits our needs best and the Challenger Lift has been a great addition.  Customers love its many features – the spin up pucks and the easy to operate lock release are the two most popular. We like the flexibility it offers in vehicle range. It fits small cars and big trucks well, and we got the height extensions that make it perfect for very tall vehicles.

We also changed out the lift in Bay 5, once again trying out another company. Rotary Lifts are regarded as one of the best on the market, so we were excited to see what options they add to the mix. The features that stand out most are the flexibility in pad placement as well as how quiet the lift is compared to the others. The low profile arms are also great for all the low cars we get here. 

The biggest change has been the workstations, which we’ll cover in more detail below. We were very excited for this change as the project took more than a year and thousands of hours to complete. We worked hard to come up with a new tool set and workstation for every bay, and we are glad that they have been received above expectations. We have received excellent feedback and are excited to make some modifications to the setup.

Last, but certainly not least, the changes to our website. We went with a complete redesign to make the website easier to use, and information more streamlined. I also started writing this blog to highlight the happenings of Stew’s Self Service Garage. 2018 was a very exciting year for all of us here, and I’m excited to share a little bit more about all of it.

The New "Stew's" Setup

The highlight of the year is definitely the new workstations. It’s a toss-up, though, which is the best part – the Shark Professional workstation or what is inside of them. We took your years of feedback on the tool sets and put it to action. We upgraded the quality of all the tools and made the tool set significantly more useful. We also made the set all Metric, so there wouldn’t be any more mixups with SAE tools being used by accident. We still have our SAE tools, we simply have a separate roll away box for them.

After we had the tools down, we needed somewhere to put them. It had to be something that would last forever, look great, and have a ton of function. We settled on this layout as it provided a 10ft work surface, all the room we needed for the tool set (with room to grow), put the hose reels into a more useful spot, and enclosed the garbage and cat litter. All of that also makes a much more attractive front of the bay. And as a bonus, the workstation counter has 6 outlets with an additional 4 USB outlets in it. Plenty of power for any device you bring with you. If you want to get all the details, I highlighted it in the May 2018 blog post, which you can find by clicking here.

 

 

Lots Of Cool Cars and Projects!

We love to see all the cool cars and projects that come in! They don’t have to be exotic; we love the variety. And a variety came in over 2018. From Ferrari’s to Lancia’s, we saw a good range of interesting cars. The day of the side-by-side Lotus Evora and McLaren 570gt certainly drew attention from everyone in the shop. While my personal favorite was seeing the Fisker Karma in depth. I don’t know much about Fisker, so getting to see one up close was certainly a highlight of the year for me. The battery unit change was a sight to see as well! There were certainly some cool projects too. We had a Jeep Wrangler do a turbo install, quite a few engine swaps, an engine rebuild on a WRX engine, repairs on a van traveling around the world, and much more.

Employee Appreciation Day!

This was probably my favorite day of the year. John, Rick, Steve, and Shawn work hard all year to help make sure you guys have the best experience possible. In 2018 we had our first ever Employee Appreciation Day, where we attended a Mariners game in the Diamond Club. The Diamond Club is an all inclusive premium area in the stadium with an open bar. We wanted to give back in the best way we could, and an all inclusive day at the ballpark did the trick. For all the hard work they put in, it was all worth it.

I’m excited to continue to expand our team in 2019! Be sure to thank the crew for all they do. 

Here's to saying bye to 2018, and looking to 2019!

I did some fun stuff in 2018! From Mariners and Huskies to visiting San Diego and Arizona. Seeing Pearl Jam at the Home Shows, and the shop shenanigans, 2018 was a great year for me. As you know from the other blog posts, the last section is a little bit about me. So I’ve put together a little collection of pictures that sum up my year.

Since Husky football season just ended, I have to start with that. My girlfriend and I are Husky football season ticket holders and tailgate before the games. It’s starting to become a tradition for us and we have loved being at Husky stadium on Fall Saturdays.

In August I went down to Phoenix and San Diego to see the Mariners play the Diamond Backs and the Padres. We stopped by the USS Midway Museum in San Diego to check it out. It was the highlight of that trip for me seeing the carrier. It took many hours to get through it all, but it was certainly worth it. Bonus highlight was San Diego has the paid electric scooters you can use, much like the Lime Bikes in Seattle. Except the scooters are MUCH cooler to ride.

When Pearl Jam was in town, we had to go and see their show! Of course being from Seattle, I enjoy grunge music even though I was born towards the middle-end of the grunge era. I’m not sure if all of Pearl Jam really counts as grunge, but we’ll throw them in there! I don’t get out to many concerts anymore, so getting to see the amazing show Pearl Jam puts on was great. One of the best concerts I’ve been to.

I’ll wrap it up with my funny shop shenanigans picture. A customer ordered this MotoRad part and I thought the brand name was hilarious. I figure if you throw up the hang loose sign and say “RAAAAAAAAAAAAD BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” while installing it, the part will never fail. So we now ‘bless’ all new thermostats with a “RAAAAADDDDD BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”.

Thanks for another great year! I’m looking forward to new challenges and adventures in 2019.  I’ll see you at Stew’s Self Service Garage!

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