KC's Precision Auto
STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOE JANCSURAK
As a teen-age youth in Vermont, Casey Northrup drew and designed cars, and car logos. He even made up a brand—Mijicah. (Don’t bother Googling it; it’s a made-up word). Today, instead of dreaming up cars, Casey repairs them as owner of the newly opened KC’s Precision Auto at 9600 Ploof Road SE in Leland.
After cutting the ribbon on February 9 during KC’s official grand opening, attended by several customers and representatives of Aire Serv, Brunswick Community College, Creative Commercial Properties, Corning Credit Union, Dean’s Performance and Pioneer Strategies, Casey, an auto technician for 30 years, noted that after 20 years of operating an auto repair business in Vermont, “it took a leap of faith to move here where we don’t know many people to start a new venture. Today, though, we look forward to building a thriving Leland business.”
With wife and co-owner Amanda assisting with office duties and customer service; longtime friend and retired schoolteacher Ed Lewis, who designed the logo, helping with promotional materials; and daughter Selah who is “helping to keep everything looking nice” when she’s not attending high school (Selah’s sister Serenity is away attending college), the vibe is welcoming, and first impressions of the clean and well-organized service area are off the charts.
What You Can Expect
“We repair most makes and models but specialize in imported brands such as Toyota, Honda, Acura, Lexus, Subaru, Suzuki, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, VW, Audi, Hyundai and Kia,” Casey explained. “We perform diagnostics, repair brakes and suspensions, perform all necessary maintenance including tune ups and timing belts, oil changes, and we also sell and install tires.”
Lately, it’s the diagnostic work that Casey spends much of his time with. “The biggest change to the industry is the computerized nature of cars; they’re much more complicated. An average car now has a computer network with at least 20 computers. On a luxury car, that could be 50 computers. That’s why I find myself on the computer a lot more, using different programs to gather the information and doing a lot of the diagnostic and electrical work that other shops don’t want to do,” he said.
“At the end of the day,” Casey continued, “it comes down to building a business based on quality of service and trust. We’re about doing things right the first time and always being 100 percent honest with our customers.”
It is that commitment to customer service that grew his business in Vermont, where he had three full-time technicians. With just a few full-service auto repair businesses serving the fast-growing Leland area, Casey suspects it won’t be long before he’s in a position to add staff. “I have space for two more technicians as the business picks up,” he said.
In the meantime, Casey and Amanda will continue working hard at what they do best, but not too hard.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned from owning and operating businesses is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of regularly working overtime,” Casey said. “There’s always more work to be done, but you need to have downtime to spend with your family. For us that includes beach time, car shows, shopping thrift stores and yard sales, and road trips throughout the United States.”
So far, those trips have covered 42 states, with Utah and Michigan being among their favorites. “With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, the rest are Southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Now that we’re here in North Carolina, we can look forward to crossing those off our list in the next few years.”