50 years ago, Al’s Automotive began as an auto parts store, opening its first shop under the name of Exeter Auto Parts. The Lampert family then expanded the company to a repair shop. Towing then came as a natural addition in order to better serve their customers.
Today, Al’s Automotive is 5 companies sharing a 35,000 square feet facility; towing service, repair of cars and trucks, sales of heavy trucks and trailers, commercial bodyshop, and their latest expansion, New England Wrecker Sales, which is a new distributor of NRC products. Profile of Michael Lampert, CEO of the company, whose ambitious nature has made this latest major project possible.
In 1999, after graduating from college, Michael joined the family business. At that time, the company has an old Holmes 750 wrecker with a NRC add on under reach. Since then, Mike has slowly built up the heavy duty side of the business.
When we asked him if he always knew that he wanted to work for the family business, Mike replied, laughing, “I never wanted to join the family business! I always said that I would never be working for Al’s Automotive. I like to say that my father tricked me into it. He asked me for help one winter, and I have never left since then…”
The company has developed its local and regional reputation since its founding. But it was only in 2012, when Michael bought the company, that it experienced a notable expansion. Mike moved the offices to a new 25,000 square feet facility. Last fall, an addition of 10,000 square feet was completed in order to accommodate a commercial body shop.
When Mike bought the business, Al’s Automotive employed fewer than 12 people full time. Today, Mike’s greatest professional pride is to be able to offer good jobs to more than 40 people. At Al’s Automotive, employees are highly valued; asking him why he gives so much importance to his staff, Mike explains:
“It has always been in the DNA of Al’s Automotive. You clearly cannot do everything by yourself, and finding good skilled employees nowadays, it’s not easy. This is why we do everything we can to keep them with us as long as possible. We have employees who have been with us for 20, 30, 40 years. We offer good salaries, higher than average, and we take care of our people.”
Mike wants his employees to have a career opportunity at Al’s Automotive, and not just a temporary job and that is why he is involved in the development of the profession.
AL’S AUTOMOTIVE | TODAY
The company now offers a full service one-stop shop for fleets. For Michael, Al’s Automotive is “an alternative to the distributors of heavy vehicles, offering a high quality full service in one stop.” But Michael sees even further into the future. When asked what to expect from Al’s Automotive in the coming years, he replied with all the ambition we recognize in him,
“Within 10 years, I would like to see Al’s Automotive expanded to several locations and stand alone as the sole distributor towing equipment for the market of New England.”
We will all be watching Michael accomplish his goals!
As is the case in many family businesses, Mike’s father remains involved in the company. He likes to come by every day, find out what’s going on, stay up to date; it’s as if he could not stop! We also have some people of this breed here at NRC (we salute Norbert Pigeon, Bruce Jackson and Marcel Pouliot!)
Like many towing business owners, Mike lived the lifestyle associated with the towing business. Today he tries to get away from it, though it is not easy, and focus on growing the business by offering careers with benefits and attractive conditions for its operators.
AL’S AUTOMOTIVE AND NRC INDUSTRIES
New distributor for NRC Industries, we asked him what was his best argument when selling NRC equipment. Mike didn’t hesitate to say the following:
“NRC: No Real Challenge. NRC products are built to work hard and to last. I have the strong feeling that when a buyer has been testing a NRC product, the sale is easy. ”
When we asked what’s making him remains loyal to NRC Industries, he responded,
“In 2006, when we purchased our first Rotator, we had an issue with the winches. Alain from the service department loaded a new winch in his car and drove to us. He worked with us to get it installed that day. He took the old one back to Canada, rebuilt it the next day and then drove back down to us the day after to replace the other winch. What else is there to say? ”
We also asked him what his best memory with NRC Industries was:
“It’s a tie between: the time I made a road trip to Baltimore with Andy Ferreira and I had the opportunity to listen to his good old stories for 8 hours straight and the time I picked up our first Rotator in January 06 at NRC”. Mike said. “Norbert offered me a hands-on training in sub-zero temperatures and gusty winds. I was a little ashamed of not being dressed appropriately for the weather. I vowed to never return to the factory without winter clothes, just in case. “
We apologize for our polar temperatures Mike, we should start a stock of winter coats for our chilly customers!