Doral Auto Care
By THEO KARANTSALIS
Service at this local auto shop is so off-the-chain that some customers just toss their car keys and a note inside the drop box before it opens.
“Then we take care of it,” said Sam Fornaris, owner of Doral Auto Care, at 5721 Northwest 36th Street, in Virginia Gardens, whose face lights up when he talks about how he serves his customers.
Fornaris is a veteran auto pro who oversees a staff of seven who are eager to help keep your vehicle in top shape. From basic maintenance to tune-ups, and beyond, he wants you as a customer – for life.
“Our customers trust us,” said Fornaris, who years ago oversaw operations at the high-end Chart House restaurant chain, known nationally for its superb customer service. He has since transferred his skills, including hiring and product layouts, to an auto business he built from scratch on the lot of a former Long John Silver’s just west of NW 36th St. and Curtiss Parkway.
After opening a state-of-the-art auto facility a few years ago, customers from near and far have left glowing reviews on social media sites touting the shop’s service.
“Lexus wanted to charge me from $600 to $800 for an air-conditioner repair leak, writes “John,” one of many who have doled out 5-star ratings to the shop. “They charged me less than $20, I couldn’t believe it.”
Fornaris exudes passion about the car business and strives to be the best. For example, he is so passionate about car tires, he flies around the country to attend specialty trade shows, demonstrations and seminars. Then he rushes back to share this knowledge with staff and customers.
Your car is safe inside this state-of-the-art shop. Built with an extra thick foundation and concrete walls and impact resistant windows, it looks as if it could withstand a Cat 5 hurricane. Inside, the latest high-tech diagnostic tools let staff service all cars, including high-end and late-model Mercedes-Benz, BMWs and Audis.
“We offer full-service auto repairs for all cars,” said Fornaris, who adds that the shop’s prices are up to 50% off of area dealers’ prices. “We use OEM parts (original equipment from the manufacturer) and offer a nationwide warranty on our work.”
And the staff speaks your language too, including fluent English, Spanish and even Creole.
Most of the shop’s customers come from Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and the airport area. And many are ladies who, Fornaris point out, visit by themselves.
To show how they value your time, the shop even splurged on a courtesy pick-up van that shuttles customers back and forth to nearby homes or offices, for free.
For shorter wait times, for things like their special $19.95 oil and filter change, there is a special customer waiting area with a television and snack machine.
A recent survey by Consumer Reports shows that many Americans have skipped servicing their cars due to the poor economy, something that Fornaris wants you to reconsider.
“That can be dangerous and costly in the long-run,” said Fornaris, who adds that delayed repairs could present safety issues.
To stave off potential problems, the staff at Doral Auto Care will give you a free “courtesy” check of your fluids, tire pressure and filters each time you visit. And if a problem is spotted, one of their ASE-certified mechanics will help you resolve it.
“It is what we do and love.”
For information, call (305) 871-1121.
Meet Sam Fornaris, owner, Doral Auto Care
5721 Northwest 36th Street, Virginia Gardens
Monday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What would you be surprised to know about Sam? He is not a mechanic.
What would you be surprised to know about Doral Auto Care? The shop is not located in the city of Doral. But it is on “Doral Blvd.” which is also known as Northwest 36th Street.
Sam’s advice for the world? Be kind and honest and tell the truth.