by Eric Hagen
Since opening in 2005, Midwest Car Care has been in an Anoka County community. It opened in Fridley, moved to Ramsey and recently relocated to Ham Lake.
The expanded Midwest Car Care business officially opened for business Feb. 1. The 8,000 square-foot Ham Lake facility is a couple of thousand square feet larger than the Ramsey location was, according to Dean Spiczka, who owns the business with his wife Carol.
The business is family owned and some of the eight mechanics have worked for the Spiczka’s since the beginning so they are like members of the family, Spiczka said. They hired the eighth mechanic when they moved to Ham Lake and may be hiring a ninth in the near future.
A couple of Alaskan malamutes named Cody, four, and Kaya, one, are also members of the Spiczka family that customers got used to seeing in the Ramsey location and are now in Ham Lake.
Family, in particular a father-son bond, is why Spiczka now owns a car care center. Spiczka’s first car was a 1967 Ford Falcon that needed a lot of work, so the two of them spent hours fixing it up so Spiczka could drive it by the time he got his license. Spiczka’s grandfather also would stop by the home garage to lend a hand. Another car they worked on was a 1966 Chrysler New Yorker.
“My dad wasn’t in this trade, so I think it was something he enjoyed doing or out of necessity did it,” Spiczka said. “Through a father and son bonding, it has become this (business).”
The eight Midwest Car Care mechanics are trained to work on any type of American, Asian or European vehicle, Spiczka said. They can work on hybrid vehicles. They do oil changes, alignments, transmission work and much more. This service center does not do any body work, so it cannot repair vehicles badly damaged from crashes.
The mechanics participate in continuing education classes at least once every three months to better understand the industry trends. All have automotive service excellence (ASE) master status, which is the highest certification level.
“We try to stay on the cusp of trends,” Spiczka said. “(Knowledge) is as much of a tool as a wrench is.”
The tools the mechanics have are important though, so Spiczka purchased a new vehicle alignment diagnosis rack that includes four high definition cameras and lasers to accurately tell how much alignment is needed. They also have a new hand-held electronic car code reader to be able to quickly diagnose what is wrong with a vehicle.
A new business venture included in this Ham Lake Midwest Car Care will be the sale of used tires. Spiczka said the purchased tires have more than 50 percent tread left in them and are sold for much more affordable prices than new tires.
“We’re in the service business,” Spiczka said. “It’s really helping people, so in an effort to supply a service to a customer who may not be able to afford a brand new tire, we brought these in and it’s had an amazing response. Today, we sold nine sets of tires and every single one of them were used. It feels like the right thing to do.”
Spiczka said he has worked for large companies that spent thousands of dollars on consultants trying to craft a mission statement.
“Ours is pretty simple. It’s to do the right thing,” Spiczka said.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]