They've renamed the business "TLC Transmissions and Affordable Auto Care." Emphasis on the word "Care."
"I wanted the name and the logo to represent who we are," said Bobbi Ann DePierro, who along with husband Dominic DePierro opened the new shop Jan. 3 at the former Aamco location at the corner of Route 347 and Belle Meade Road.
For the DePierros, of Bellport, that means fixing much more than cars – it means repairing the bad reputation sometimes associated with auto repair shops when customers don't know if they're getting a fair deal.
"That’s what we’re trying to get past," Bobbi Ann said. "For us, it's going to be doing the right thing and getting the word out. You can’t ask for trust, you have to earn it. It’s going to take time to do."
But they've got a plan: market their business to women, whom they feel could use a little extra help navigating the world of auto repairs.
"We’re trying to re-brand this a little bit, bringing a softer touch to it and catering to women’s needs," Bobbi Ann said. "I don’t think that’s ever been addressed. I want them to feel safe. I want them to know that they’re not going to be intimidated or that they’re going to pay more because they don’t understand their vehicle."
Indeed, one of their new customers, Frances Sprufera, said she would highly recommend the DePierros' shop for that reason. "They're fantastic, fabulous, very professional and expeditious," she said. "I mean it from the bottom of my heart."
TLC will also hold seminars for young drivers to teach them how to properly maintain their autos, such as showing them how to check oil and tire pressure. "I want kids to be safe," Bobbi Ann said. "All those things can contribute to accidents."
Dominic DePierro has worked in the auto field for more than 25 years, including at the Aamco shop which they turned into TLC. Bobbi Ann DePierro is a full-time Zumba instructor who helps run the auto repair business. They employ three mechanics, and said their nearest competition is the Lee Myles transmission repair shop in St. James and Dr. Nick's in Rocky Point. But TLC's services aren't limited to transmissions; they do all kinds of auto repairs, although they don't do state inspections.
"We would love it to be busier," Bobbi Ann said, "but I think we’re doing pretty good for just opening."