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A 60-Year Tradition of Quality Service: Hugh’s Riverside Automotive

In an age in America where talk is of large corporations seeming to “swallow up the little man,” we are fortunate in our area to still boast mainstays from our past. These businesses have maintained tradition and our sense of feeling at home.

But the question remains: How does a family-owned business survive while the city around us grows and changes?

We asked some people who would know. Hugh’s Riverside Automotive has been a family operated business since the 1940’s when it was first known as “Grimm’s Automotive Service.” Back then, gasoline cost twenty cents per gallon, and a new car could put you back $1,200. But the success of the business and its commitment to the community it serves shows that although prices have changed since the 1940s, what matters hasn’t.

Hugh Gunter, owner of Hugh’s Riverside Automotive, started as a mechanic at Riverside Automotive as a young man, when it was owned by Milt and Joyce Berhoefer who had purchased the garage in 1984. Having served generations of loyal customers, Riverside Automotive continued with its mission, and mechanic Gunter continued to serve the community with the same level of service it had come to expect. From here, business continued to grow, and in 2004 the young mechanic for whom a generation of customers had grown to trust and respect, purchased the company. In keeping with the “family run” tradition, Hugh’s Riverside Automotive is run by Hugh and his wife Kathy, who serves as business manager of the operation. But that’s not where the story ends. The business is still growing, and standards are still the same.

“As a family-owned business, we recognize the value of customer loyalty and our pledge is to serve each of our customers with honesty, professionalism and integrity. We will never take our customers’ patronage for granted,” says Hugh.

While enjoying the peace that comes with their car being well-taken care of, customers of Hugh’s also enjoy being a little pampered.

“There are so many of our customers that work downtown. They just drop their car off here in the morning and we carry them to work and then pick them up at the end of the day. We’ve taken people to the beauty shop, the doctor… you wouldn’t believe all the places we’ve dropped people off,” says Kathy with a chuckle.
It’s not a surprise that the shop’s ­ commitment to accommodation and trust has earned Hugh’s a large client base of elderly. “We try to accommodate the elderly any way we can,” says Kathy. And, as the word continues to get out about – Hugh’s garage, the female client base continues to grow.

Hugh’s Riverside Automotive employs three master-certified mechanics, boasts the latest in diagnostic equipment, and is both a NAPA and AC Delco certified center. Clients are aware that they are getting the best service for their vehicles. This tradition, combined with the tradition of keeping local customers the priority, helps explain why this local business has thrived for over sixty years. According to Kathy Gunter it’s summed up like this: “Customer service is paramount, and we seek to build our business one customer at a time.’’

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