Shop New Build with Seth Thorson and Troy Vaninetti [THA 227]

Seth Thorson has specialized in the service of European automobiles since 1999. First, in Michigan and now at his current location in New Brighton, MN. He just started to build a brand new shop and experts to be in by June 2021.

Seth was educated at a UTI in Chicago, where he was at the top of his class. He then went to BMW Step to finish the master’s program. Thorson was hired in at a BMW dealership in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. From there he moved to an independent shop in Waterford Michigan and learned VW Audi. Seth’s passion remained with BMW and he was offered a chance to buy an existing shop in New Brighton, Minnesota near where he grew up.

He is the owner of Eurotech, which specializes in BMW, Mercedes, and Audi cars. He is a firm believer in using factory tools to ensure proper repairs and coding. His team of highly trained and certified technicians is able to diagnose today’s complex vehicle systems! His second location, Green Garage, works on all makes and models.

Seth also owns and runs a BMW tech support company called LMV Bavarian that provides support and programming to a growing network of over 200 shops via remote diagnostics. He also teaches national seminars on BMW diagnostics. Seth has also partnered with SSF auto parts in their unique ‘hands-on’ training program.

Seth belongs to AASP in MN, BIMRS as well as NASTEF. He is also a member of Cecil Bullards (Institute for Automotive Business Excellence) 20 group. He believes idea sharing and networking with other shop owners have helped grow his business. Listen to Seth’s previous episodes HERE.

Troy Vaninetti– Troy has been Married to His beautiful wife Kori for 27 years and has four children with one still living at home with one 15 month old granddaughter.Troy started working in a Texaco full service station at age 17, and progressed through the following: from service attendant, tire attendant, apprentice technician, lead technician, shop manager, to purchasing Graham Auto Repair in 2006. Troy knew the importance of having coaching he joined ATI in 2012 and increased his business revenue every since. Troy leased a six-bay building in Graham for ten years before being forced to build his own 7 bay building due to losing His lease in 2016. In his first full year in the new building, Troy doubled his annual revenue. Since then Troy has won the National Top 12  ATI awards in 2018,2019, and 2020. Capturing the number one National Top Shop Award in 2020. Now Troy is working on His second location in Yelm Washington.

Key Talking Points

  • Seth Thorson- 3rd location, built within 9 months in a motorplex condo. It was a PUD (planned unit development). 4,000 square feet, 6 bays total. Tile floor came from Germany and an employee from the company came to install it on a work visa. Epoxy tends to not hold up as well as tile. Customer waiting room downstairs and VIP lounge upstairs. Kitchenette upstairs as well. The location will be hosting car shows and events. Two customer bathrooms and one employee bathroom. Oil and fluids housed upstairs with a pump system. Had fixed price budget bid. Radiant in-floor heat and HVAC air conditioner. Discussed planning and input with shop foreman. Promoting 3 locations on the website, you can call and reach a live person that will book an appointment and pick up car to be serviced at a different location.
  • Troy Vaninetti- new building 4 years old, 7 bays. Over 2 years to be built start to finish. Covered entrance service area. Mixed soil with concrete because the soil was too wet to build on. Made depth 50 ft in case he wants to repurpose space as commercial retail space. Hired a designer to design the interior of the shop. Within the first year the shop doubled revenue, nicer building attracts different clientele.
  • Upgrading customer amenities- people make emotional decisions based on how they feel when they walk into a place.
  • Advice- start early because it is a long process. Remodeling is very different than new builds, make sure you are clear with vision with architect. Visit as many places as you can to decide what you like and don’t like. If you can, assign someone to help with obtaining permits and being the squeaky wheel. New builds/updates to buildings also attracts technicians that want to work there. Have financials in order for bank and be prompt with reports they need.

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast; the only one of its type in the automotive aftermarket. Carm calls on his 35 years’ experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ path to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.