Left to right: Frank, Lenny and Marcella Serravalle.
The past two years have been a time of rapid change for everyone, and many in our auto recycling industry are taking a hard look in the mirror to figure out what value they really bring to their customers. Over the pandemic, Frank Serravalle realized he didn’t want to be just one thing to his customers—he wanted his business to support customers through every stage of their vehicle’s lifespan.
“You can’t depend on just one revenue stream. You have to be able to do multiple things very well to survive,” said Frank, owner/operator of the newly renamed Thorold Automotive Solutions. The shop is celebrating its fortieth year in business in 2022 and Frank his twenty-second year as owner.
“We want to be a solution provider for all of our clients; whether it’s purchasing a vehicle, to servicing it, to disposing of it properly and responsibly. We want to be a solution provider for the entire life of the vehicle.”
This decision to reframe the Thorold brand came after a number of incremental steps that Frank took in years past to help flesh out his business’ services.
“We’ve always been an auto parts supplier. We added a service centre four or five years ago, so we have a full mechanical auto service centre,” said Frank.
“Last year we became an authorized GoodYear tire dealer, so we now sell new and used tires.”
This makes up part of Frank’s plan for getting through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which he says has thrown a wedge into his usually vehicle purchasing process.
“It was very difficult to buy salvage [during the pandemic]—we typically buy salvage vehicles from insurance companies and auctions, so it was very difficult.”
In the struggle of the last two years, Frank has become reacquainted with the most valuable lesson in business.
“If I’ve learned anything from COVID, it’s that you always have to value your staff. We always have, but this was a big reminder. Keep your team happy, because when you’ve got good people, you’ve got to hang onto them.”