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Staying on 'Top'line

A few days before her doctor's appointment in St. Petersburg, Mary Babino called Topline Tire & Auto Center to schedule an oil change. She brought the car in, along with a plate of homemade cookies, and handed the keys and the cookies to her mechanic, Service Technician Justin McVicker.

"I always work with Justin and I always bring him cookies," said Babino, who has been a loyal customer for years. "He's so nice and honest. I trust him completely."

That attitude sits heavily on the minds of Topline's owners, Jason and Josh Wogan. The brothers, ages 30 and 29 respectively, understand the importance of building a strong trust relationship with their customers, particularly since they chose an industry that, at times, fights a few negative stigmas.

It takes years to build a strong reputation," said Josh Wogan. "But it takes one bad comment to tear it down."

The Wogan brothers have been "around the shop a few times." They grew up in the business since their father, John Wogan, worked in the industry for more than thirty years. In 1995, John Wogan purchased Topline Tire & Auto Center on Cortez Blvd., moved his family from Naples to Hernando County and began molding the foundation of a business that has withstood the test of time.

Jason and Josh worked in the shop.

"Most of my high school life was spent changing oil and busting tires," Jason Wogan remembered. "For as long as I was old enough to work, I worked for him. He taught us everything we know."

In 2008, when John Wogan was ready to retire, he offered the business to his sons.

"I think that was his intention all along," Josh Wogan said.

The sons partnered together to purchase the business and continued carrying the legacy their father had started.

"We gave him his retirement," Josh Wogan added.

John Wogan built the business into a Cortez Blvd. landmark and it thrived under his watch. The business grew so fast that a second store eventually opened in Spring Hill, off Commercial Way, by an independent owner. The two shared the name and advertising and special promotions but were managed separately.

That is, until now. At the beginning of March, the Wogan brothers acquired the Spring Hill location. In fact, it was the Spring Hill shop where Babino found McVicker, a very popular service technician who decided, along with his colleague Craig Gorham, to remain part of the team.

With two stores to run, the brothers separated and Jason Wogan came to Spring Hill. Their sister, Kelly Herbst, does the bookkeeping for both locations.

With less than two months in, it appears the transition has gone without a hitch. Most customers, like Babino, didn't even know the shop had changed hands.

It might have something to do with the degree of integrity shared by this team. Although managed independently for years, the two stores had the same common thread that delivered quality service to a loyal customer base. Merging the two stores under a single umbrella will broaden their service.

The foundation set by their father bleeds through the persistence of his sons. They have an endearing approach to business, recognizing the need to make strong decisions today that will affect well into tomorrow. They have a solid grasp on old fashioned integrity that builds solid business formats. Topline is a full service auto repair and tire center.

"There is nothing mechanical we don't do," said Josh Wogan. And they stay competitive with pricing, even when compared to Sam's Club and Walmart, which offer only a limited menu. And their warranty service on tires is second to none.

With ten service technicians between the two stores and five salesmen, the Wogans have had to learn how to keep their team happy.

"We don't take things too seriously," Josh Wogan said. "We're not a big corporation with big regulations we have to live by."

They maintain a commitment to family and core values and do their best to remain flexible in other areas.

"We try to make it as comfortable as possible for everyone," Jason Wogan added.

And they take their customers very seriously, often going that extra mile.

When Babino dropped off her vehicle for the oil change, she mentioned hearing a strange noise in her air conditioning. McVicker took the vehicle out for a test drive and diagnosed the problem as an over abundance of dry leaves under the hood.

"See what I mean," Babino said. "He takes care of me."

Upon learning McVicker was impartial to Chicken Parmesan, Babino returned at a later date with a plate of her homemade creation. It was well-received by the crew.

Topline Tire and Auto Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Article courtesy of Hernando Today.

Written on Monday, May 21, 2012 by
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