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Billtown Auto-works maintains cars and customer relationships

Corporatized auto-repair work has eliminated the mechanic-client relationship, leaving both the lesser — a mistake Jay Edkin, owner and operator of Billtown Autoworks, 205 Fleming St. South Williamsport, seeks to correct.

Though many years as a BMW enthusiast has made him into an expert in European cars, Edkin said he is attempting to revitalize the auto-shop working relationship.

“I think my specialty is just overall customer relations,” he said.

Growing up, Edkin said he was always taught to make as many friends as he could because you might one day need help too.

It’s with the honesty of a friend that Edkin said he does business. With long-term relationships, auto-shops can notify you of pending issues which may not require immediate care but the mechanic needn’t feel compelled to fix it at that time because they know you’ll come back.

Further, dealing with a mechanic one-on-one compels honest pricing — community reputations are on the line.

“Sure your car’s getting worked on in the garage, but in (the lobby), I don’t want to make it seem like it’s a business,” he said. “I want it to be more of an enjoyable atmosphere.”

Edkin, who has worked in various repair facilities over a dozen years, said he worked to make a children’s play area adjacent to the lobby that is safe and fun for children. He, himself, is a father of four and his children can often be found playing there.

“We know how much of a hassle it can be with kids,” he said.

In working at other auto-repair shops, Edkin said stiff chairs and magazines are no place for youngsters.

“The kids would come in and the first thing they do is throw the magazines on the floor, start knocking wiper blades down,” he said. “I get it. I have kids, I know what it’s like. They’re welcome to be here.”

In the future, Edkin said he’d like to move more into refurbishing old vehicles.

“It’s a lot more rewarding to see restorations,” he said. “You see a rust bucket turned into a show car.”

For now, Edkin said he strives to see his jobs through to the end.

“It’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that people are not going to see,” he said. “They’re not going to know the difference. But it’s just me knowing that when they leave here, they’re alright.”

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