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New car repair shop is owner's longtime dream

Autovantage opened June 2 in Auburn
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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For Bryan McGinnis, who has been tinkering with cars since he was a teen, opening his own shop in Auburn in early June was a dream come true. “I always enjoyed building models as a kid,” he said Monday.” We used to go to hot rod shows and I enjoyed seeing what people can build and fix.” His introduction into mechanics was at age 16, as owner of his first car, a 1980 Mercury Capri “that always needed work,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed working on cars and it’s something I’ve been good at.” After attending Sequoia Institute to hone his knowledge, he was hired at Roseville Nissan and eventually ended up working in the shop at Auburn Nissan. “I’ve been a mechanic for 14 or 15 years,” he said. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever done.” He and his wife, Becki, had been planning to own their own shop someday, and when Auburn Nissan closed in April, they decided it was time to move ahead. Their venture, Autovantage, opened June 2 and the early reaction has been a pleasant surprise for both of them. “It’s a lot busier than I thought it would be,” McGinnis said. “But we know a lot of people in the foothills and there were people waiting for us to open.” Although he is a specialist in Nissan and Altima models and particularly enjoys working on them, McGinnis is quick to say that he can work on and welcomes all automobiles. “We do everything,” he said. “One day it will be AC, the next day something heavy duty. We have plenty of tech support. We are online with several programs, so we have the most recent updates and bulletins. (We can do anything) from the check engine light on a 1995 Honda to a brand new Nissan Altima.” Customer Paula Bertoncini became acquainted with McGinnis’ work when he was with Auburn Nissan. She has three cars — a Chrysler 300M, Nissan Versa and a Nissan Xterra — and he has worked on all of them. “He did a better job than Chrysler did, working on my 300M,” she said. “That sold me on his services. And since my 17-year-old daughter was going to be the primary driver, I needed to make sure that whoever was going to be taking care of it, knew it was going to be a teen driver because I didn’t want her stranded anywhere.” Bertoncini stepped up quickly to be supportive when McGinnis opened his shop. “I’ve already taken two of the three cars there,” she said. “I was his first customer. I insisted on being his first customer and giving him his first dollar.” McGinnis has a second technician, Jake Richards, and Becki comes in a couple of times a week to handle the bookkeeping. McGinnis said he prefers to educate his customers about work that needs to be done. “I just want to make them aware of that’s going on with their car,” he said. “It’s more of let’s itemize this and see what’s most important. I prefer to sit down and break it down to them rather than give them a high price when they don’t know what’s going on. I enjoy showing them things under the hood, just so they feel comfortable.” What is his favorite part of the job? “Probably just the challenge of a good diagnostic problem and then stepping back and knowing you fixed it for someone and you made them happy — knowing it is good quality work,” he said. The shop includes an air-conditioned waiting room. There’s also drop-off and shuttle service. When not working on cars, McGinnis enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family that includes three children. “I love to fish and hunt,” he said. “I love playing with my kids.” His son, age a year and a half, is already into cars, he said. He also has coached fast-pitch girls’ softball in Colfax for the last four years on his daughter’s team. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay @goldcountrymedia.com or comment at AuburnJournal.com.