Ultimate Auto & Customs opened up shop Feb. 4 in Spring Lake Park.
The business, located at 1540 County Highway 10, is a “one-stop auto shop,” according to owner Bill O’Malley of Mounds View.
Ultimate Auto is O’Malley’s first foray in the auto industry, but cars have been his passion since he was a young boy, he said.
His grandfather customized classic cars to give to each of his children. O’Malley inherited a 1966 Caprice Classic when he was 16 years old.
A picture of “his beauty” hangs in his new office at Ultimate Auto. When the weather gets warmer, he will drive it to the shop regularly to serve as a showpiece in the parking lot, illustrating just what Ultimate Auto can do.
“I’m all about the cars,” O’Malley said. “I’m just so sick of going to places and getting charged top dollar for everything.”
So, Ultimate strives to offer low prices for their many services, everything from routine maintenance to custom wheel and tire orders.
Oil changes are often priced at $19.99 and include not only five quarts of synthetic blend oil, but also fluid and tire fill-ups, as well as a car wash and vacuum.
“We don’t really win on oil changes, but we’re getting a new customer,” O’Malley said.
Additionally, Ultimate Auto will price-match most coupons, though “chances are we’re cheaper off the top,” according to O’Malley.
Customer service is one of the business’ core values. Ultimate Auto is willing to work with customers, giving them time to come up with cash needed to pay for repairs that sometimes catch them off guard.
Six days before the business opened, a woman’s car broke down in front of the shop, O’Malley said. Ultimate Auto employees pushed her car out of the road and into their lot, offering to refer her to another mechanic and get her on her way. She insisted on being the first customer, O’Malley said. So, her car sat in their lot for almost a week until they were able to begin work.
Later, when she couldn’t come up with the full amount owed, O’Malley said if she had money for parts, they would give her some time to find the additional cash.
“You have to give a little trust to get a little trust,” he said.
O’Malley hired two technicians to work in the shop, but it’s been so busy in its first weeks, he may soon be looking for a third.
Opening the shop has not been without its trials, but “I have never been more ready to take this adventure here in life,” O’Malley said.
Ultimate Auto & Customs is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday by appointment only.
Walk-ins are welcome, but to avoid a wait, an appointment can be made by calling 763-710-5333.
Looking ahead to spring, O’Malley hopes to host a car show for the community, complete with vendors and raffle prizes.
O’Malley often dreams about the future. He imagines several decades down the road that his now 5-year-old son Landon might inherit the business, if cars are his passion. He plans to pass his Classic Caprice to Landon when he’s older.
Then, it’s back to the present: “Ultimate’s a tough name,” O’Malley said. “We have a big name to live up to, and we are doing our darnedest every day to live up to it.”
Olivia Koester is at firstname.lastname@example.org