Jessica Bernard has had the Bernard’s Quality Cars business in her background most of her life.
Her grandfather, Archie Bernard, started the business in 1973 selling used cars out of a trailer. In 1975, a two-bay shop was built and in 1986, Jessica’s Dad Terry took over the business.
After Terry began running the business, he built a sales office and a wash bay. In 1990, the original two bays were turned into a small bay, service office and showroom and two new bays were added on. Then in 1998 they added two more bays and his wife MaryLynn joined him in the business.
Their eldest daughter, Jessica, was interested in Bernard’s business and attended Northwood University in Michigan. When she graduated in 2006, she started selling cars, learning the ropes of the business, and progressed to General Manager. She admits that her passion was more for the service side of the business as well as the numbers! Her sister Stef, who also graduated from Northwood, came back to work at Bernard’s in 2013 and became Sales Manager for the used car business.
We talked to Jessica about the business and running it today. “Right now we have four mechanical bays and two detail bays. We employ 10 full-time people, three part-time, and I use Protractor management software to keep us all organized!” she tells us.
Current and up-to-date
Bernard’s is a shop that keeps as up-to-date as possible—their technicians are enrolled in NAPA Autotech and NAPA Excellence training. The equipment they use is also what is definitely needed to keep today’s vehicles safely on the road. Jessica tells us they have multiple modern scanners, iflash, scopes, cameras, a Roadforce tire balancer and much more to keep them at the top of their game.
“We treat every customer as part of our family… just the way we’d like to be treated. At Bernard’s we wash the customer’s vehicle—no matter what it’s in for; we even offer pickup and delivery. In addition, we have a courtesy car available and a desk for customers who wish to use it while their car is being serviced,” Jessica states.
Bernard’s Quality Cars relies on Ideal Supply for parts. “We like dealing with them as we feel they have the same values we do… and they treat us like family! Ideal stands behind their products and are willing to help us whenever they can. They have a wide range of products and varying levels of quality depending on the customer’s needs and financial situation and if they don’t have something, they go above and beyond to try to find it for us,” Jessica remarks.
Help along the way
She also says that the NAPA programs offered, like the 12 month/20,000 km peace of mind warranty, the roadside assistance and the seasonal maintenance packages, have helped Bernard’s grow their business as well as the monthly ProShop training she attends. “Murray Voth does a great job to help us better understand our own business and to gently push us to become even better. It is also an excellent forum to talk about the challenges we are facing and to hear what has or hasn’t worked for others,” she notes. Bernard’s Quality Cars was one of the three best AutoPros chosen by NAPA last year.
Of course, we asked about obtaining new customers and Jessica answered, “Our best source of new customers comes from referrals. We try to offer the best customer service, have customers’ cars completed when promised, and return them cleaner than when they came in!”
As to the future, Jessica assures us that they are going to stay on top of their game with training and investing in tools to stay current.
“We will continue to provide exceptional customer service in order to grow and prosper in our community. The future feels like it’s going to be an electrical/diagnostic world, so investing in training and staying up-to-date with information and new tools will be a must. Programs like Identifix, Mitchell 1 and Alldata are and will continue to be valuable resources,” says Jessica.