Port Moody Auto & Air
By Tracey Rayson

Automotive Specialists for 50 Years

Trust and honesty are, undeniably, the two most important values in a relationship with your auto repair shop. Gary and Shelly Smith, the husband and wife team behind Port Moody Auto & Air, understand the significance of customer confidence, particularly in an industry once stereotyped for its half-truths and questionable business practices.

"I could spend every dime on advertising and I would never attain the response that I get from customer referrals; it's the best business we can get, especially in this industry," reveals Shelly. "Trust, for us, is number one. It is always a financial decision when it comes to car repairs, so customers have to feel you are telling them exactly what is going on with their vehicle and what they need to do."

These ethical principles make up the backbone of the business at Port Moody Auto & Air. In fact, Shelly is quick to say that Gary is definitely a man that lives by The Golden Rule, to treat others, as you would want them to treat you. "He is a very honest person in his own life," she says. "He's got a good heart and he's just a really good guy."

Trust, for us, is number one. It is always a financial decision when it comes to car repairs, so customers have to feel you are telling them exactly what is going on with their vehicle and what they need to do. - Shelly Smith. owner.
Shelly Smith is Port Moody Auto & Air's hands-on business owner and marketing director.
Shelly Smith is Port Moody Auto & Air's hands-on business owner and marketing director. Photo courtesy of Port Moody Auto & Air

Generational Family Business

Automotive is a big part of the Smith family DNA. Port Moody Auto & Air is a division of Port Moody Radiators, founded by Gary's dad Bill in 1974. Gary started working in the family business when he was 14 and took over the reins in 1997. Shelly and Gary's son Sheldon Smith (electrical engineer guru in Shelly's words) and son-in-law Paolo Alessio (service manager) are also part of their dozen staff.

"I was raised by parents who owned their own auto body business, and I was against it my whole life," confesses Shelly. Wanting to pursue her own passion, she worked as a professional photographer for 25 years until her life's trajectory came full circle; she married Gary and is now hands-on in the auto business she originally shunned — albeit grew up around.

The female influence impacts business in a positive way, too. Having a strong female presence in the shop helps the company stand out in a testosterone-heavy industry that can be intimidating to some clients. "I think it's huge because we help women feel comfortable and they feel good about our shop, it's an instinct," says Shelly. "Ashley Gorsky is my right-hand at the front desk, so we're on the front lines and she's very much in tune with taking care of our customers."

Cool collector items fill the reception area
Cool collector items fill the reception area, including a vintage Texaco gas pump, old parking meter and a 1913 railway crossing light from CN Rail. Photo by Shelly Smith
Port Moody Auto & Air is a Government Certified Inspection Facility.
Port Moody Auto & Air is a Government Certified Inspection Facility. Photo by Shelly Smith

First Rate Service, Extensive Auto Care

Port Moody Auto & Air is a complete automotive repair (foreign and domestic vehicles) and full-service tire shop, specializing in heating and cooling systems including A/C recharge and repair. Services include gas tank and radiator repair, engine block, clutch and transmission repair, brake and oil changes, and auto glass replacement, just to name a few. The full-service auto shop is equipped with the newest technology and state-of-the-art diagnostics to provide an accurate assessment of your dashboard warning lights.

Experienced expert technicians, guaranteed workmanship, free courtesy cars, and fair competitive pricing (including complimentary estimates) helps position Port Moody Auto & Air as a leader in the industry. "We are the dealership alternative, so there's not a specific car that we're concerned about being able to deal with," says Shelly. "We are up to current year on all foreign and domestic cars."

The auto shop also helps support the local business community with special rates for small-business owners. "As part of our Small Business Employee Wholesale Program, we offer a 20-percent discount to Tri-City business owners," Shelly explains. "It's a standing order with Chamber of Commerce whether it's their fleet or employee's car."

Shelly acknowledges the real driving force behind their successful business model is their customer service. "We're proud of the relationships that we build with our customers. Some come in and instead of taking the courtesy car they'll just hang out. After repeat visits, it's almost like a hairdresser's lounge in here; we tell them about our lives, they tell us about theirs, and it's pretty cool. It's definitely the people; that's why we're here."

Port Moody Auto & Air offers complete break service, replacement and repair.
Port Moody Auto & Air offers complete brake service, replacement and repair. Photo by Shelly Smith
Port Moody Auto & Air's Mobile A/C Service is exclusively for commercial vehicles and includes calls to all the local body shops with ICBC claims.
Port Moody Auto & Air's Mobile A/C Service is exclusively for commercial vehicles and includes calls to all the local body shops with ICBC claims. Photo by Shelly Smith
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