This e2 business profile was written by SLCgreen intern Lauren Mills. Learn more about Salt Lake City’s e2 Businesses.
Sitting on a quaint neighborhood corner in downtown Salt Lake is an auto shop decorated with green garage doors and sunflowers printed up the sides. Besides the earthy appeal, one might easily assume that this building is simply your basic auto shop like any other. However, take a peek inside (or outside if you prefer), and you will quickly discover that this little auto shop is hardly your average business.
Founded in 1964, Clark’s Auto & Tire began as a typical service location for all vehicles. In 2010, current owner Alan Boyer took over the shop. Having grown up from a young age into the auto business, Alan is nothing short of an expert on all things maintenance—the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a young boy, Alan recalls working in shops and “filling up 55 gallon trashcans of paper and plastic, just to put it in the dumpster.” What does this have to do with running an auto shop? Here’s where Alan’s unique expertise comes into play.
After six months of gaining familiarity with Clark’s, Alan made the brave decision to transform the shop into a fully sustainable and eco-friendly auto business. Initially, Alan struggled to find any useful strategies or resources to aid the development of his plan. However, this was hardly an obstacle; Alan simply set to work creating sustainability plans on his own. The results are highly impressive and visible, both inside and out.
On the roof of the shop, Alan has installed solar panels that provide 2.5 kilowatts of energy for usage throughout the building. The TV above the front desk is directly powered by this solar energy, and displays a continuous scroll of the shop’s energy consumption levels as a means of keeping inventory. Surrounding the sides of the shop are specified tubs for recycling scrap metal, tin cans, and oil. You are also likely to see several bikes strapped up to posts, as many of Alan’s staff members have hopped on board with his eco-friendly initiatives and now choose alternative methods of transportation to work. Think this is neat? Wait until you look inside.
Alan has replaced all the old lighting systems from the previous Clark’s design with energy efficient LED bulbs throughout the shop. In the garages, only a single air-compressor car jack remains on account of limited space. Alan keeps a clean shop as well; in addition to the numerous recycling and garbage bins located around the machines (as you will quickly discover that there is nearly nothing that does not get recycled), Alan ensures that there is zero contaminant leakage from his garage into water drains.
Even better, Alan has provided the resources to influence his staff to work sustainably as well. On a mission to eliminate paper and plastic waste, Alan has designated a section in the shop for lunch breaks, complete with a refrigerator, microwave, sink, and actual sets of plates and silverware. The evolution of Alan’s staff is arguably one of his greatest achievements, as these young adults have gained an entirely new interest in sustainable operations, eco-friendly cars, and have notably adopted a much more environmentally-conscious way of life. As Alan proudly states, “they’re not the same kids.”
In terms of specific auto services, the combination of Alan’s extensive knowledge and his passion for sustainability is what truly sets Clark’s Auto above the rest. The shop offers services and repairs to both gasoline cars and hybrids or electric vehicles (E.V.’s). Perhaps one of Alan’s most impressive services is battery repair: rather than tossing an entire battery to an unknown disposal location (as many auto shops and dealers do), Alan specializes in analyzing faulty car batteries (particularly in hybrid vehicles) to pinpoint the specific problem, repair it, and rebuild the battery to proper functioning power. This saves time, waste, and especially money for the customers.
Additionally, Alan is now offering a training on how to own, operate, and service hybrid vehicles and E.V.’s, in hopes of increasing public awareness of both the long-term cost benefits and environmental outcomes of owning a hybrid vehicle. And seeing as he drives a Prius himself, there is no doubt that Alan truly practices what he preaches. Along the wise words of one of his favorite athletes, Wayne Gretzky, Alan states “I’m not going where the puck is; I’m going where I think the puck is going to be…I think the future is where these Prius-type cars are.”
So the next time your car seems to act up on the road, or your battery goes dead, or even if you’re in need of a simple oil change, don’t hesitate to head straight for Clark’s Auto. Because what could feel better than doing both yourself and the environment a favor? Just ask Alan.