Simon's Auto Service to Expand
Simon’s Auto Services, a fixture at Lee Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard for 40 years, is embarking on a major renovation that will replace the current three-bay shop with a six-bay facility. The expansion will have space for 18 cars to be stored overnight and will include a waiting room.
The shop, which faces Lee Road, will remain open during construction. The new building will be north and west of the shop, facing Euclid Heights Boulevard. When it is complete, the old shop will be cleared for parking. The entire space will be landscaped. Owner Simon Daher says construction is likely to begin sometime next year.
Daher, who runs the shop along with his brother, Steve, cites increased business and the need to store new equipment as the reasons for expansion.
Daher’s father Aref, and a partner, opened the shop in 1972 as A&M Auto Repair. He learned his trade repairing Pepsi-Cola trucks in his home country of Lebanon. A&M Auto Repair functioned as a full-service station until the early 1990’s.
Simon Daher grew up on Hampshire Road in Coventry Village. He started working at the shop when he was 13. He likes Cleveland Heights because “you enjoy working for people that you know.” He also appreciates its diversity, reflected in the variety of cars he works on. “We’ll work on a Mercedes and then a Chevy Chevette from the 70s. We’ll work on a $90,000 vehicle and then a $1,500 vehicle.”
Daher attributes the success of Simon’s to repeat business, word of mouth, and Google reviews. “Two to three people a week come in based on these reviews,” he said.
Daher says he can compete with dealers because they charge a lot for packaged services that your car might not need. Any service done at Simon’s is reported on Car Fax. He explains that the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 forces dealers to honor warrantees even if required services are completed outside the dealership.
Daher says the biggest change in car repair since he started is that it is now difficult for people to repair their own cars. Today, a scanning tool is used to diagnose problems. It costs $4,000 plus $1,000 a year to update the software. Simon and his brother go to school once or twice a month to keep up with new technology. “It’s challenging and it’s different every day,” he said.
As for the future, Daher says cars will be driving themselves. The Google car “is computer controlled and that’s where it’s all going.” He says Ford is working on a car that will bring you back into your own lane if you fall asleep. Acura has a car that will slam on the brakes if you are coming up too fast on an object and will pull the seatbelt to wake you up if you fall asleep. These features are limited to expensive cars, but eventually will be standard.
Daher says car mechanics will be needed, but they will have to go to school and purchase and program equipment for these new features. Daher is no Luddite when it comes to high tech car repair.
Frank Tascone teaches writing and literature at the University of Mount Union and lives in Cleveland Heights.