FEATURED BUSINESS – Affordable Auto Repair

| March 1, 2013


Like many Chicagoans, I drive a lot for work and have very few low-traffic options.  So I take side streets, and wiggle through neighborhoods and one-way alleys, sneaking on and off expressways, all for the sake of avoiding traffic and tolls. There’s no doubt I’m wasting barrels of gas.  One little short-cut I found off 294N is the Balmoral Ave. exit just East of O’Hare (and just before the toll plaza!).  This little gem-of-a-route keeps me off the Kennedy rush-hour nightmare, and ironically resulted in a free oil change at Affordable Auto Repair in Schiller Park.

Each time I took my surreptitious Balmoral backdoor byway, I’d notice a simple hand-painted sign at the side of the road: FREE oil change – text “CHANGE” to 63566.  “Phft” I muttered, “these guys can’t even afford a REAL sign.”  But one day, idling in a throng of traffic caused by an event at the Akoo Theater, I finally gave into the signs temptation.  Two weeks later, I get the text that changed my life:  “Congratulations!  You’ve won a free oil change from Affordable Auto!”  Now I know what you’re thinking; “hey dummy, if an oil change is a big deal, you need to get a life!”  Indeed, I do need to get a life, but as my Venezuelan barber would say in his South American accent, “lemme ess-plain.”

That weekend I drove my Toyota to Affordable Auto to collect my oily prize.  I pulled up to the garage door… honked the horn… and as the garage door slowly rose… I immediately observed that this place was HOPPIN’!  And I mean REALLY busy.  They had 3 cars up on lifts, guys sanding and painting fenders, a double-decker tour bus, and 2 glossy Lincoln Town Cars getting a wax job.  The waiting room was filled with businessmen talking on cell phones, kids running around, a big fat black lab, conversations in several languages, taxi and limo drivers mingling with regular “Joes” like me.  I was convinced there was a keg somewhere, but I settled for a cup of coffee offered by Mohammad, the friendly and humble owner.

Mohammad and his wife, like many families around the world, came to America for a better life for him and his family of 7 boys.  Yeah… SEVEN!  It looks like he found his success here in Schiller Park, and as a small business advisor I just had to know how he did it.  “It’s simple,” he said “I put the sign out, and I connect the people together.”  THAT is an understatement.  Before I knew it, his best friend Chris was asking me what I do for a living.  Then he introduced me to the owner of a limo service, Salama who eventually became a customer of mine, as well as another mutual friend of theirs engaged in my services.  Mohammad is a customer now too!  They all help each other out with their businesses and families, and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a network like this.

So the next time you need an oil change, fender repaired, a business contact, or a very strong cup of coffee, stop by Mohammad’s Affordable Auto Repair at 4900 N. River Rd. in Schiller Park.  They will treat you like family.

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Category: Featured Businesses

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