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February 26, 2020 - Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper - page 5 BEST OF THE BEST


Keeping up with an ever- changing auto industry


Sun Times/Shopper Dave Sulz


technology. That requires those in the business of


A


repairing automobiles to keep up with the changes. “The industry is continually evolving


and we’re trying to continually evolve with it and stay ahead of the curve,” says Shawn Hammond, co-owner, along with his wife Becky, of Big Al’s Auto Repair. They appear to be succeeding, based on the fact Big Al’s just claimed a fifth- consecutive title as Best Auto Repair Shop in the Sun Times/Shopper’s annual Best of the Best survey. The recognition from the public is appreciated and “we’re super honoured,” says Hammond. It’s an ongoing challenge to keep up as


vehicles become increasing high-tech, requiring mechanics to expand their knowledge of automobile electronics. “We’re constantly doing training and


research so we can be up to date with new car technology,” Hammond says, adding he and his staff are also keeping a close eye on new trends such as hybrids, electric cars and the hydrogen cars he says will be coming in the future. While the auto industry continues to


come out with new wrinkles every year, some drivers, especially in challenging economic times, opt to keep their vehicles longer. “Our economy is a really funny thing,”


s is the case with most areas of modern life, the automobile sector is being constantly changed by advancing


says Hammond. “When the economy is lower, people tend to keep their cars more rather than buy new ones.” Of course, keeping a vehicle longer


requires keeping it in good running condition. The key, says Hammond, is regular maintenance. “If a car is well maintained, you’re


increasing your chances of doing that.” He says the greatest failures he and his


staff see in that regard is lack of regular filter replacement and oil changes. Since most people aren’t


mechanics, they generally rely on a repair shop they can trust to take car of their vehicles. Hammond works to ensure Big Al’s is just such a place. “One of our really core


missions here is to take care of people,” he says. They do that in more ways


than just repairing customers’ vehicles. Big Al’s also conducts


an annual Christmas van give-away which sees the business partner with a community organization each year and “we find a family (families) who could use a hand up,” says the business’s website. They obtain a van or vans through purchase or donation, and, through community support, fill it with groceries and gifts for the family or families. In an effort to continually improve what


they do, the Hammonds are in the process of expanding the shop, which will more than double the size. “We’re always trying to figure out how


to do things better,” says Hammond. Big Al’s Auto Repair is located at 3227 2


Ave. N. Find out more online at


bigalsautorepair.comor phone 403-381- 8288.


Thank You Lethbridge and Southern Alberta


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