Longtime Repair Shop Moves to Washington Avenue | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 November 2011 14:15

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PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK

The Island Auto Repair staff can handle lots of cars in their new, large service bay. Owner Pravi Chand is third from the right.

By Linda Sandsmark

San Leandro Times

A respected auto repair shop has moved to Washington Avenue in San Leandro, after seven years on Bockman Road in San Lorenzo.

Island Auto Repair, owned by Pravi Chand, opened its new shop on Sept. 1.

At only 31 years old, Chand is already a seasoned professional in the field of automobile repair. Born on Fiji Island (for which the shop is named), Chand’s family moved to California in 1995. Both his father and grandfather had worked in truck repair, and Chand himself graduated from Sequoia Institute (now called WyoTech) in automotive technology and worked in a Redwood City Lexus dealership for four years.

During his time at the dealership, Chand always worked two or more jobs. These included stints in a body shop and Pep Boys, where Chand learned all he could about car repair, parts, and customer service. He fixed so many cars at home that his father finally insisted he open a shop.

“I started in a tiny two-bay shop at 790 Bockman Road, doing everything myself. It was hard at first, because my customers were just people who knew me. To pay the rent I bought used cars, fixing them up and selling them,” recalls Chand.

Eventually he hired another mechanic, then a second and third. Still, with the limited space he really couldn’t do any body work.

“Eventually, just by word of mouth, I outgrew that shop,” he says.

Now Chand is able to offer all the services provided by a dealership, becoming what he calls a one-stop auto shop. His current spacious location has enough room to do routine maintenance, mechanical repairs, computer diagnostics, wheel alignments, body work, and painting.

His friend, Jerry Mincey (formerly of Jerry’s Auto Body Shop) came on board to help out as service manager. Plus, Chand now employs four more in the body shop, four full-time certified mechanics, and an office manager.

Word of mouth has been good for Island Auto Repair. Customers come in from near and far, including San Mateo, San Carlos, Discovery Bay and Modesto.

Chand says he got his business philosophy from his father: use good parts, give a good price, work hard, and be honest about what you do.

“I give thumbs up to my dad,” says Chand. “Without him I wouldn’t even have a shop. He told me, ‘If you stay strong, you can do it.’ Now my plan is to stay here until I retire.”

Island Auto Repair is located at 14140 Washington Ave., 567-7286. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 to 3. All makes and models are serviced and estimates are free.

 

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