Thursday, January 17th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


WEST SERVICE CENTER

Celebrating 30 years of expert service and devotion to customers

by Donna Sanders Corbus


Since 1987, Robert and Debbie West’s devotion to their customers has fueled the engine of West Service Center’s continual growth.

Since 1987, Robert and Debbie West’s devotion to their customers has fueled the engine of West Service Center’s continual growth.

In 1987, West Service Center was a small, one-bay-and-one-mechanic operation depending on friends and family as its customers. Thirty years later, it is a bustling automotive and truck repair business that handles fleet repairs and maintenance, as well as towing and hauling. Always listening to their customers and paying attention to what they want, West Service Center recently began servicing RV’s and campers.

Growing up in Portsmouth, owner and president of West Service Center, Robert West, always loved tinkering on engines, and was recognized by his family and neighbors as being able to fix anything. After he graduated from Cradock High School, Robert joined the Army, serving as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1979, after seven years of service, Robert left the Army and began working as an engine mechanic in Norfolk at the Naval Air Rework Facility. It was during this time that Robert started his car repair business after work. His business grew so much that he eventually hired a full-time mechanic to work the day shift while he worked at the Rework Facility. In August of 1987, he opened his first small shop on Military Highway.




Housed inside West Service Center
is an NAPA auto parts store
staffed with NAPA employees.
Having the auto parts store on site
makes it convenient for customers:
auto parts needed for repairs
are usually available without a wait.



West Service Center’s team of service advisors include Paul Lumadue, Beth Berryman and Adam Wethington

West Service Center’s team of service advisors include Paul Lumadue, Beth Berryman and Adam Wethington

Robert was introduced to his wife Debbie through a mutual high school friend. They have been married for 35 years and live in Deep Creek. Originally from Baltimore, Debbie moved to Chesapeake at age 13 when her dad, who was in the Coast Guard, was transferred to Hampton Roads. She retired as an accountant with the Chesapeake Health Department after 31 years. Debbie now works full-time at West Service Center, handling the administrative work and serving as the vice president.

Robert and Debbie have two sons who grew up helping out at the service center. Thomas, the youngest son, has followed in his father’s footsteps, and loves  the automotive field. He now serves as Assistant General Manager and wears many hats. Thomas’ wife Shannon helps out with art or graphics that may be needed. Oldest son, David, works for a mortgage company, but also serves as the IT guy for the service center. Although Robert and Debbie spend many hours working together, “We try not to talk about work at night,” Debbie says. Sunday is designated family day. This is the day that Robert and Debbie get to spend time with their two granddaughters, four-year-old Isla and two-year-old Ava.

After being in several locations throughout the years, West Service Center moved to its current location in 2000. Robert bought the land, cleared the woods and built the 9000 square foot facility. He now employs three service advisors, who greet the customers, write up vehicle concerns and provide estimates, and ten ASE certified technicians who repair and service the vehicles. “Employees are constantly being trained and certified in all the latest industry standards,” Robert asserts.

West Service Center is a National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) auto care center. In 1925, a group of independent auto parts sellers met in Detroit to form NAPA. Their mission was to improve the distribution of auto parts in order to serve the people and businesses that increasingly relied on cars and trucks for their transportation needs. Housed inside West Service Center is an NAPA auto parts store staffed with NAPA employees. Having the auto parts store on site makes it convenient for customers: auto parts needed for repairs are usually available without a wait.

Towing and hauling are major components of business at West Service Center, and they provide services through a number of motor clubs. Their fleet consists of seven heavy hauling trucks. “We haul vehicles like tractor trailers and trash trucks, but we can also haul equipment like forklifts and generators,” Debbie explains. West Service Center also has nine light duty trucks. Local police departments contact them often to assist them at accident scenes.

West Service Center services approximately 650 vehicles per month. They install Jasper engines and transmissions, and are a Jasper warranty shop for the area. Always looking for ways to meet the needs of his customers, Robert decided West Service Center would begin working on recreational vehicles. “In the past, RV’s were used mostly by retired people, but due to the economy improving, the younger generation is buying them,” Robert observes. West Service Center can handle mechanical and chassis issues on RV’s, as well as repairing or replacing hot water heaters, air conditioners and other appliances.

West Service Center can train customers on the operation of their RV. According to Robert, many folks have never driven a vehicle with air brakes, and it’s a whole new driving experience. We want to make sure people know how to drive their RV safely, before they take it on the road,” Robert explains.

Customers can also find out about Safe-T-Plus Steering Control. This is a safety device designed for RV’s, buses, and trucks that stabilizes the front end of the vehicle should a tire blow out, helping to keep it on the road. “Tires should also be routinely checked,”   Robert says, “and owners should consult their vehicle manual for when to the schedule preventative maintenance.”

West Service Center has come a long way since first opening as a small shop. Robert didn’t know all those years ago, that his love of tinkering on car and truck engines would lead to this thriving family-owned business. Vehicles have changed over the years, but what remains unchanged is Robert and Debbie’s devotion to their customers. By offering high quality products and the expertise needed to service an ever-expanding array of vehicles, West Service Center has earned the trust and dedication of customers since 1987.




West Service Center

904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23323

757-487-4420
http://www.westservicecenter.com