Despite (or maybe because of) a downturn in the automotive repair industry, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has set a record for membership for 2007. The association, which was founded over four decades ago, is now close to 500 members and growing.
“With the state of the industry, I must admit I am very pleasantly surprised with the numbers,” AASP/NJ President Tom Elder says. “We have a great organization and I think our members know that we are extremely active in every aspect of the industry. We are always working to find ways to make them succeed, and the success we’ve had is a great selling point to new members. “
The key factor in this surge in membership has been the work of AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “Charles has been instrumental to our successful membership drive,” Elder adds. “He has been a huge part of the automotive repair industry in our state for over 30 years and he knows the industry like he back of his hand. Let’s face it: When Charlie calls, it’s hard to say no,” Elder says with a laugh.
Although AASP/NJ is thrilled with the jump in membership, Bryant feels there is much more work to be done. “My immediate goal is to increase our mechanical membership,” he states from the AASP/NJ office in Neptune. “I come from a collision background so I am learning on the fly about the mechanical end. With the help of members like Bob Everett and Rick Allen, I am learning more and more about the mechanical repair industry and I plan to concentrate on that area in the upcoming months.”
“Our goal is to have every automotive repairer in the state as a member of AASP/NJ,” Elder says. “It’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but by nature I’m an optimist. I think what we offer — on all levels – is worth well more than the membership fee. More and more shops in New Jersey are realizing that and we are welcoming them with open arms.”