Diesel To Veggie Oil Spawns A Unique Garage

September 27, 2010

Farhad Ghafarzade is an auto repair shop owner who understands the demographic he serves. According to a profile at Enzymepdx, he is well aware of the intimidation that occurs between the overhead doors of an auto repair facility.

He diffuses the fears of his automotive-challenged clients by trading oil changes for vinyl records and loaning bicycles out to customers whose cars are in for repairs. He softens the confines of his garage in Portland, Oregon, by using it as a venue for parties and concerts when he is not holding Car Care Classes there ($20/90 mins), all signs of a business model that Enzymepdx calls “Very Portland.”

Ghafarzade’s route to auto repair is itself a study in free thinking and openness to change. Two weeks away from becoming a licensed dentist he decided that root canals and impacted wisdom teeth weren’t for him. He had spent some of his time as an undergraduate converting his 1980 Mercedes to one that ran on veggie oil. The process was a bit of an experiment that he described as a “lark.” Could this be the start of a commercial enterprise?

Not at first, initially he was the guy on campus who could convert your diesel engine to veggie oil, which was a service he would perform for extra cash. When he moved back to his hometown to regroup and consider grad school, he continued doing conversions and outgrew his parents’ garage, which prompted a couple of moves and the eventual hiring of a staff of seven.

Ghafarzade  practices “pragmatic eco-friendliness” with an accent on the quality of services offered and products sold. He says he evaluates motor oil and fluids with an eye on their eco-friendliness in juxtaposition to their functionality. For him quality trumps eco-friendliness, although he says he has found some green products that hold up very well.

Although the staff’s tee shirts display “I smell veggie,” the shop does not discriminate against gas-powered vehicles or repairs other than conversions. The shop’s slogan “Maintenance, Repairs, Smiles” seems to back up the statement on the website that the staff loves what they do.

If this sounds familiar, it is, because it follows the first AllCarAdvice rule for selecting a repair facility, which is to find a technician or shop that is passionate about its craft. This was evident in the recent post Arizona Woman Repairs Cars With A Conscience and other posts.

So maybe a good mechanic isn’t so hard to find after all.

[Enzymepdx & Green Drop Garage]

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