12/03/2010: This Year’s Motor Age Top Shops Profiles Unveiled
We have in-depth looks at the 10 Top Shops of 2010, including the No. 1 shop Curry’s Auto Service. We have stories and photo galleries for you to check out today!
SOURCE: Motor Age
11/15/2010: New Shop for Curry's Auto Service at Dulles Town Center
Sterling, VA - Curry's Auto Service is opening a new shop at Dulles Town Center on November 15. Located at 45591 Dulles Eastern Plaza (next to The Big Screen Store) in Sterling, VA, the shop will have 5,000 square feet with seven bays and Curry's usual state-of the-art equipment.
This will be the sixth Curry's shop in the area. Curry’s is one of the largest independent service and repair shops in the DC area. The company services 800+ customers per week at its five locations through Northern Virginia: Chantilly, Great Falls/Reston, Falls Church, Gainesville and Arlington.
Founded by Matt and Judy Curry in 1997, Curry's Auto Service was named "2010 Top Shop" by Motor Age Magazine on October 15 and will be featured in the magazine's December issue.
"We have focused on creating a comfortable and relaxed culture that encourages our employees to interact with customers and develop long-term relationships," says President Matt Curry. "We feel this approach is unique in the automotive aftermarket industry. Because we get to know our customers, we can offer maintenance and repair options based on our customer’s specific needs."
In June 2010, Curry's Auto Service was chosen by the readers of Northern Virginia Magazine as "Top Auto Shop" in Northern Virginia. On October 1, 2010, Curry's was named to the Inc. 5000 list. With a growth of rate of 33% between 2006 and 2009, Curry's ranks #3972 on the 2010 list.
Certified Female Friendly
Curry’s Auto Service is the only auto service facility in Virginia to receive the AskPatty "female friendly facility" certification. As part of this program, Curry’s customers have access to an online community providing impartial advice to women on auto purchases, repairs and maintenance.
Operating for the past 12 years in Northern Virginia, Curry’s Auto Service has become a pillar in its communities with 64 employees and $10.1 million in gross revenues in 2009. In a depression and in an industry experiencing contraction, Curry's Auto Service has continued to grow, with expected sales of $13.5 million in 2010.
Curry’s Auto Service has received the highest AAA ratings in the country for customer satisfaction. Curry's is Bosch Authorized and employs American Service Excellence Certified Technicians (ASE). The technicians at Curry’s do technical repairs and diagnostics for which many of the franchise outlets do not have the expertise. They also perform routine maintenance like oil changes, transmission flushes, tire sales and Virginia State safety and emissions inspections. Curry’s technicians can repair all makes and models, including race prep and performance modifications.
In 2009, Curry's Auto Services was selected as one of three finalists across the country for Tire Review Magazine’s “2009 Top Shop Award.” Judy Curry has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the "Women Who Mean Business" in 2008 and by Virginia Lawyer's Weekly as one of the "Influential Women of Virginia" in 2010. Curry's Chief Financial Officer Chris Holcomb is a finalist for the Washington Business Journal's 2010 CFO of the Year awards. For more information about Curry’s Auto Service, visit http://www.currysauto.com.
11/15/2010: The Virginia Gasoline Marketers Council
The VGMC (Virginia Gasoline Marketers Council) held their annual Legislative Reception on Thursday Nov 11 2010 at Williams Memorial Hall in Fairfax. Many Olympus employees attended the reception and got the opportunity to network with local independent Service Station owners and employees.
Many local Virginia legislators were in attendance and were engaged in lively discussions regarding pending legislation.
The VGMC is a group of independent owners who pool together their time and resources to review and react to legislation that may affect their businesses. It is a highly proactive group that looks out for the interests of their customers as sometimes the unintended consequences of legislation proposed adversely impacts them.
Additionally, they are involved with hosting seminars that are aimed at further educating their members on the ever changing industry they are involved with.
We are proud to support the VGMC and their activities. More information on the VGMC can be gathered by visiting their website www.vgmcinc.com
11/12/2010: AAPEX 2010
The Olympus crew was in Las Vegas last week for the annual gathering of automotive professionals at AAPEX week.
We were intrigued by these artfully stacked rocks outside of the Sands Convention Center where the show was held. We couldn’t believe that they stayed up and figured they probably had been super glued. Just had to get a picture of that – plus they don’t like cameras inside the Convention Center during the show.
We had meetings with many different vendors and they were great but in thinking about the trip it was a couple of other items that will be remembered from this year’s show.
Three of the people who received awards from AIA were most worthy.
Marty Gold of SG Auto Parts/Autowares received the Person of the Year Award. We have known Marty for many years and it is said that there never was a volunteer position that Marty wasn’t interested in. His dedication and selfless giving of his time in both professional and personal endeavors make him a tremendous choice for this prestigious award.
MaryLynn Nyman of ZF Automotive received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Again MaryLynn has been in the industry for many years and we have been dealing with her for most of them. She exemplifies the professionalism that most of us try to achieve. Recently, a manufacturer’s rep called us regarding the ZF line; we said without hesitation that their point person should be MaryLynn. She does what she says she will do and understands the ins and outs of the organization and most important – gets things done.
Hans Bierdümpfel of Karlyn Industries was inducted into the Hall of Fame. We have been dealing with Karlyn/STI for many years and simply love their products and company. If you hunt through previous posts we highlight the efforts of Han’s son in pursuit of perfection. Hans has been manufacturing automotive components from the early 70’s and is highly respected in the industry. He regaled the crowd with some stories of his early pursuits and how he came to be a supplier to the OES channel. The secret to his success is not being the biggest just being the best.
The AIA hosts a seminar entitled “Have You Ever Listened to Your Customers?”. This seminar consists of a panel of Automotive Repair Shop owners who answer questions from a Moderator and the crowd at large. Several items brought up were of interest to us. We were struck by the comment “customers don’t know/care about the brands of parts” installed by the shops, As Olympus is all about the brands and quality of the parts we sell this was an eye opener and provided lots of conversation during our vendor meetings. We believe that the quality of the parts installed redound directly to the satisfaction of the car owner. We need to increase our efforts at training to make sure this message is not lost.
We would be remiss if we didn't say that we attended the 10th anniversary meeting of the SIPS group. The SIPS group is a group of import specialist parts suppliers from around the United States that meets 3 times a year to discuss all aspects of the import parts business. The SIPS group is facilitated by Gary Garberg and has been since its inception. Our hats are off to Gary for his excellent work in the previous 10 years and for the next 10! Gary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11/12/2010: New A1 Pentofrost Antifreeze
Pentosin has developed new antifreeze specifically for use in pre-2004 Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles. Pentofrost A1 Antifreeze has been specially formulated for the North American market and carries Toyota Make Reference Number 00272-1LLAC. Pentofrost A1 is the only known phosphated organic acid technology (phosphated-OAT) based antifreeze available in the aftermarket that is fully compatible with Toyota’s red antifreeze.
Pentofrost A1 is an OE-quality engine coolant concentrate made for water-cooled engines and designed for year-round application. It is manufactured to the exact specs of DIN, ASTM, and DBL. Pentofrost A1 contains phosphates and organic salts to protect all materials used in Asian vehicle cooling systems. It is mixable with all phosphated OATs and meets ASTM D-3306.
This new coolant does not contain any silicate, borate, nitrite or amine containing additives. It prevents lime formation, protects against corrosion and cavitation, and is guaranteed not to foam. A1 offers superior protection for aluminum/cast iron engines, radiators and water-pumps. It does not affect seals and avoids gel formation, which can cause radiator clogging.
Editor note: Pentofrost A1 should not be mixed with non-phosphated OATs other coolants, especially silicated coolants, as this may cause gel formation and potentially clog the radiator. Meets ASTM D-3306.
For more information, go to www.pentosin.net.
10/29/2010: Halloween at Olympus
Check out our facebook for additional pictures of our staff in their Halloween costumes! http://www.facebook.com/olympusautoparts
Olympus Home Office Halloween 2010
10/15/2010: Curry's Auto Service - 2010 Motor Age Top Shop
Judy Curry was nearly speechless when she received the news that her shop has been named the 2010 Motor Age Top Shop.
Curry and her husband Matt own Curry’s Auto Service, a five-location group of shops in northern Virginia with its main location in Chantilly, Va. They were announced as the winner during the Automotive Service Repair Week (ASRW) Awards Lunch in Las Vegas.
The Currys “get it” in terms of shop operation. They have established a solid training network, all paid for by the shop, with in-house and outside education courses. During visits, customers receive snapshots of their vehicles with prioritized recommended services. A dedicated customer advocate follows up with customers after ever visit.
Technicians, nearly all of whom are ASE and/or factory certified Master Technicians, use the latest equipment and diagnostic tools. An on-staff technical director works with the technicians as a resource for diagnostic issues they face in the bay.
The shop experienced a 28 percent increase in gross revenues in 2009, despite the shaky economy, and expects similar growth this year. Strong marketing plans and customer service help with this, including monthly drawings, green processes and other customer service and charitable events. They also are certified Female Friendly by AskPatty.com.
A complete profile of Curry’s Auto Service will appear in the December issue of Motor Age.
8/19/2010: It Matters Who You Partner With
At Olympus we partner with the finest manufacturers in the industry and this morning I received a call that reinforced that statement.
Yesterday I was informed that a problem had occurred with a wire set supplied from Karlyn Industries for a 3.5L Hyundai applications. The wire set was too short (by 1/2 inch) to be installed. I called Karlyn and informed them of the issue.
Karlyn did not make this particular set due to the unique nature of the wire ends; they purchased them from a reputable Korean source. Their normal procedure for dealing with outsourced products involves spot checking the merchandise upon receipt to make certain the product was correct and in addition a second check is performed when the product is prepped for shipment to verify the product is exact. Somehow, even with these safeguards in place an incorrect set had been shipped to us and caused the problem.
Last night the owner of Karlyn was thinking about the problem and decided that action needed to be taken. He worked late into the night and disassembled each of the sets he currently had in stock; he removed the ends that he could not source and discarded the wire. He then re-made the wire sets using his wires and making sure that each wire was the exact length necessary. That was the only way he could assure that this problem would not happen again.
This is the nature of the vendors that we choose; companies and individuals who go above and beyond to assure that the quality and fit of their products are unrivaled in the industry. It matters to you, it matters to us and it must matter to our vendors. Karlyn Industries exemplifies this commitment and it shows in every product they supply.
We have been supplying Karlyn products for over 20 years and expect to by supplying them 20 years from now.
8/17/2010: Olympus Facebook Update (Annual Picnic)
Last Sunday the annual Olympus Picnic was held. Visit our Facebook site for pictures and videos from this annual fun event.
8/11/2010: Jerry Flint, Dean of Auto Writers - An Appreciation
Forbes columnist Jerry Flint, who covered the automotive industry for more than half a century, died Aug. 7, in Hudson, N.Y., of a stroke. He was 79.
A Detroit native, Flint was considered the dean of automotive reporters. Although he had recently celebrated his 79th birthday, he showed no signs of slowing down and was still contributing his biting critiques of the industry for Forbes readers.
"I've been covering the auto industry forever; you could call me The 2000-Year-Old Auto Writer," Flint liked to joke. While he had been at it forever, he never lost his fastball and was still considered the preeminent reporter on the beat.
Flint's Last Column: Too Much Ain't Enough
Throughout his career, he blasted away at the failings of Detroit automakers while rooting for their ultimate success. The hallmark of his writing at Forbes was a blunt, curmudgeonly style. He'd seen it all, and he had no problem telling readers when he thought something was a complete waste of money, as was the case with his 2003 take on hydrogen fuel cell research.
"With government funding, a good part of the money goes to folks who can't do anything: research centers, professors, anyone with the knack of filling out a government grant application," he wrote. "This pays for lots of assistants, secretaries and copying machines. It doesn't seem to get to people who know anything about cars. The money that goes to the people who can do something, the auto companies or a few specialized outfits, pays for research they were doing anyway but allows more rides into blind alleys that they otherwise would have skipped."
Or this November 2009 take on why Americans never learned to love small cars, and probably wouldn't anytime soon:
"This doesn't mean Americans don't want fuel economy; it may mean that vehicles that were small, unappealing, underpowered and uncomfortable two years ago are still small, unappealing, underpowered and uncomfortable. It's nice to get 30 miles to the gallon, but it's definitely miserable, even dangerous, to need 12 seconds to get up to freeway speed from the ramp."
He loved "car guys" and smart designers, detested accountants and bureaucrats and bumblers. The business was challenging, but simple. Build exciting cars. Market them right. Avoid financial engineering. He was right more often than not, and he enjoyed the respect of the industry, and his peers in the press, for decades. Readers loved him, too. Last month one of them mistakenly thought Flint was on hiatus and wrote in looking for a new column. "A month without you," the reader wrote, "is too long."
He won numerous awards for his work, including the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in 2003 for his Forbes column "Backseat Driver." Business News Reporter named him one of the 100 most prominent business reporters of the 20th century. He almost made it into outer space. Flint was one of the final 40 considered to be the first Journalist in Space before NASA cancelled the program after the Challenger crash.
Flint was born June 20, 1931, in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University there in 1953. After serving in the Army for three years in a European intelligence unit, he joined The Wall Street Journal as a staff writer where he spent 11 years covering business and finance.
In 1967 Flint moved to The New York Times as its Detroit bureau chief. Not only did he continue to focus on the automotive industry, he also reported on the 1967 Detroit riots and the 1968 presidential campaign.
Flint moved to New York in 1973, working as The New York Times' chief labor reporter, assistant to the national editor and assistant to the financial editor.
He joined Forbes in 1979 as its Washington bureau chief. He ran the D.C. bureau for Forbes for four years before returning to New York and Forbes headquarters where he held several senior positions including assistant managing editor and senior writer. While he officially retired from Forbes in 1996, he continued on as a columnist until his death. He was also a contributor to Ward's AutoWorld.
Perhaps the secret of his long career was that he simply loved cars, fast machines and the freedom they represented. In his 1976 book The Dream Machine he looked back fondly on what he considered the golden age of American automaking--1946 to 1965. After that, he wrote, "engines got bigger, not better, the paint became wilder, and the knobs fell off the dash." There will always be cars, he added, "but they won’t be quite as much fun."
A resident of Manhattan and Stuyvesant, New York, Flint is survived by his wife Kate McLeod; four children from a previous marriage: David of New York; Perry of Kensington, Md.; Douglas of Alexandria, Va.; and Joseph of Los Angeles; a granddaughter, Laura; grandsons Ethan, Jonah, Joshua and Philip; a sister, Faye; and a niece in Michigan.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Jerry Flint to the Overseas Press Club Foundation, 40 W. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10036.
Forbes.com: Joe Flint is a staff writer for The Los Angeles Times.
7/13/2010: Vendor Product Update for Pentosin Fluids from CRP
Pentosin, a leader in brake fluid recycling, is also one of the world’s premier manufacturers in synthetic fluids. Founded in 1927, Deutsche Pentosin-Werke GmbH is a German-based developer and manufacturer of mineral-oil-based and synthetic fluids for the automotive industry. A leader in its field, Pentosin maintains its solid position through a combination of commitment to research and development and a state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. Quality control and certification are integral to the Pentosin process. Pentosin products are original-fill on all European cars. Here's a listing of the latest Pentosin flyers:
6/29/2010: Olympus Vendor Update
Los Angeles (June 2010) - Centric Parts, a leading manufacturer and supplier
of aftermarket brake components and systems for import and domestic cars as
well as light and medium trucks in all driving situations, has been awarded
an eighth consecutive FMSI Award for contributions to the automotive
industry...an unbroken streak that stretches back to the award's inception.
The Friction Materials Standards Institute, the organization behind the FMSI
Award, was founded in 1948 to maintain a standardized part numbering system
used by the automotive aftermarket friction industry, and to disseminate to
its members scientific, engineering, technological, statistical and other
relevant information. The FMSI Award program was started eight years ago to
recognize companies that excel in actively contributing information and
research to support the system. Centric Parts has been identified as an
industry leader every time.
"It's been a natural fit for Centric Parts to work closely with FMSI in the
organization's efforts," stated Dan Lelchuk, President of Centric Parts.
"FMSI has a clear goal to improve the industry in which Centric Parts
participates and we can all benefit from that."
6/29/2010: Summer SIPS Meeting
SIPS members at the Las Vegas Meeting
Several members of Olympus’s management team met in Las Vegas last week for the Summer SIPS Meeting. The SIPS (Society of Import Specialists) group is a network of Import Specialists from around the USA that meet 3 times a year.
The meeting featured presentations from Mitsuboshi Belts Ltd., Reach-Local and Wonh axles. Olympus currently purchases timing belts from Mitsuboshi as they have approximately 50% of the Original Equipment business for Toyota, Honda, Nissan etc. Reach-Local specializes in positioning businesses on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Olympus currently uses Reach-Local for prominent positioning of our website for local searches. Wonh is a manufacturer of new axles from China.
In addition to the presentations a large block of time is dedicated to discussing issues pertaining to doing business. Some of the more lively topics covered included: Data Warehousing, the success of our Google Group, alternatives to advertising such as Social Media networks and the possibility of a SIPS brand.
The group is an excellent opportunity to kick around and brain storm about any issue and such was the case at this meeting.
The SIPS group is facilitated by Gary Garberg and as always Gary arranged an excellent meeting, excellent facilities and excellent food. The group will meet again in November at the AAPEX Automotive Trade Show.
6/24/2010: Olympus Flyer for Bosal Exhaust Systems
6/17/2010: What is Iridium and Why Do I Want It?
Spark Plug technology has continued to evolve and one of the latest, greatest evolutions is the use of Iridium in spark plugs. Iridium is the second densest metal and is the most corrosion resistant metal known. This has a positive impact on the longevity of the spark plug as it operates in one of the harshest environments there is. The spark plug is sitting in the combustion chamber where the gas ignites – in fact it is responsible for that ignition.
Use of Iridium allows a much smaller and hotter spark to be produced. Because of the smaller size the ignition can be more closely controlled which results in better gas mileage.
Tiny Electrode allows more controlled ignition
Copper used to be commonly used in spark plugs; in the good old days you changed the plugs every 15,000 miles or so. Today with the use of Iridium the plugs only need to be changed every 100,000 miles or so. Of course copper plugs were much less expensive (a set of 4 could run as low as $6.00). Today I was speaking to a customer with a later model Honda about a set of 6 that ran close to $100.00 (just for the spark plugs).
One of the interesting theories regarding the origin of Iridium concerns asteroids. It is theorized that the asteroids that struck the earth and ultimately led to the demise of the dinosaurs contained large amounts of iridium. These theories arise from the scarcity of Iridium on the Earth. It is estimated that there is approximately four times the amount of gold on the earth as Iridium. One of the places of largest concentrations of Iridium is in crater impact zones.
It is estimated that the yearly consumption of Iridium is 3 tons (6,000 lbs) in all applications.
6/11/2010: What Causes a Catalytic Converter to Fail?
The catalytic converter is in essence an exhaust pipe filled with precious metals. When exhaust gas contacts the precious metals the metals cause changes in the properties of the exhaust gas so that they are less toxic.
In a perfect environment the causes of converter failure would be either damage due to collisions or rust-through due to age. Unfortunately, the catalytic converter does not exist in a perfect environment. The exhaust stream it is attempting to convert can become toxic due to unburned gas in the flow. This can cause the converter to overheat and the precious metals to melt destroying the converter. Additionally, the converter can become clogged with carbon from a poorly running engine again destroying the converter.
When a vehicle fails emission testing or when the ECU(electronic control unit) shows a converter fault during diagnosis of MIL (malfunction indicator light i.e. “Check Engine Light”) the reason the existing converter failed must be diagnosed and fixed prior to installing a new converter.
There are many different problems that can point to the converter but unless these are addressed the new converter will ultimately fail as well. One of the surprising fixes that is becoming common place is to update the ECU with new software. Just like your home PC the software inside the vehicles ECU needs to corrective updates installed from time to time. These updates are derived from the manufacturer making adjustments to deal with situations encountered by vehicle users accumulating miles. We know of one situation where a vehicle had an ECU update that specifically addressed an error in the converter testing process of the ECU. This caused many false MIL being set when there was no problem.
With unleaded gas engines deposits tend to build up. These deposits collect on valves and other key engine components. It is recommended that an engine flush to remove these deposits be performed as a routine step during catalytic converter replacement.
Mis-firing cylinders or leaking injectors are major causes of raw gas being introduced into the gas stream. These problems need to be fixed immediately because as noted above the converter will quickly fail when raw gas is introduced into the exhaust stream.
6/10/2010: TPMS - Tire Pressure Monitoring System
There are several systems currently in use but the one we are beginning to see failures on are direct (early adoption technology) systems. These systems incorporate a transmitter that is mounted in the tires and a receiver which is mounted on the chassis. The two components communicate using RF. The pressure is monitored by the ECU (electronic control unit) and if a problem is detected a tire icon light is activated in the dash.
What we are seeing is an increase in the failure of the tire transmitters. These units are incorporated into the tire valve system.
||TPMS Sensor w/Valve
The valve can be contaminated by leaving the valve cap off letting rain and road grit get into the valve or if an emergency inflator product is used. Additionally, the sensor can become sealed into the rim rendering it inoperable after removal.
It should be noted that the TPMS sensor is powered via a watch battery and these can fail although the expected lifetime of the battery is 7 to 10 years.
Olympus carries an expanding range of TPMS sensors and these can be found via our electronic catalog by choosing the Tire/Tire & Wheel category for your vehicle.
6/04/2010: Olympus Vendor Update
6/02/2010: What is in the Box?