As a kid, Brian Blohm loved to help his dad fix cars in the driveway of the family’s Glenview home.
“It was a hobby for my dad, and it was a way for me to spend time with him,” said Blohm. “I’d go to the auto parts store with him and help him, and I learned a lot, and developed a strong interest in auto repair.”
Now 37, Blohm has more of an interest in cars than ever. He’s the co-owner of the Glenview auto repair and maintenance business, Cars of America.
“I love this business,” said Blohm, who has been working for Cars of America since he was a sophomore at Glenbrook South High School. “I have established a lot of good relationships with our customers, and they know I’m here no matter what their problem is. I’m here to solve their automotive dilemma.”
Cars of America was started in 1972 by co-owner, Bob Dupre. Originally located on Lehigh Street, Dupre moved the shop to its current Chestnut Street location in 1988. Dupre recalled how in 1992, Blohm applied for an entry-level job.
“He applied for a position that was basically cleaning the floors and doing oil changes,” said Dupre, who now lives in Colorado, but who is still actively involved in the marketing, advertising and other business operations for the company. “In getting to know him, he had quite a bit of charisma, and a personality that could be better utilized in areas of the business that involved customer contact.”
Over the years, Dupre promoted Blohm several times. In 2002, when Dupre moved out west, Blohm bought into the business and became managing partner.
“We’re in a difficult business,” Dupre said. “People don’t understand vehicles, and there can be mistrust, and a lot of times they blame the messenger. If you’re the messenger, you have to have the ability to diffuse the situation in a tactful manner and Brian has that ability, and the ability to train others to speak tactfully in stressful situations.
With 18 employees, all ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified, Cars of America provides services that include oil changes, tire replacements, alignments, break works, fluid maintenance, diagnostics, emissions repairs, steering and suspension repairs, and repairs of all other major vehicle systems.
When asked about the advantage of going to a repair shop versus a car dealership for service, Blohm said the hourly labor rate is less than what dealers in the area charge. Additionally, repair shops can shop around for car parts.
“The dealer can only get the parts from their own warehouse, whereas we have a lot of different resources we can go to and get the parts at a more competitive rate, so the customer is saving money,” he said.
Peter and Sheila Steger, of Northfield, have six children who all drive. They have been customers for 10 years.
“I feel like they always tell me the truth,” said Sheila Steger. “If I go in for an oil change, they check for other potential issues with the goal of fixing things before they get really broken, so it saves you money.”
Steger said they explain the level of urgency when it comes to the need of getting something fixed.
“They tell me what needs to be taken care of immediately, and what can wait,” she said.
Cars of America also offers complimentary loaner vehicles, a lifetime warranty on all their parts and labor, and a percent rebate on all repairs.
“This is a great family here, meaning both my employees and our customers,” Blohm said. “I’ve loved that I’ve helped build this to be what it is today.”