LIVELIHOOD:When did you open your business? Was there anything specific that prompted you to start your business at that moment?
Scott Cullen: I first opened my business in 1989. I closed for a few brief years in 2002 because I was interested in experiencing a career in real estate. I returned to the automotive business and re-opened in 2009 and have been enjoying a thriving business ever since.
As a child I worked on bikes; I enjoyed taking things apart and then putting them back together. I was mechanically inclined and especially fascinated with cars.
LH: What makes your business unique from competitors?
SC: Our philosophy is to offer customers honest work at fair prices, ensuring fair rates for both mechanics and customers. I pride my business on customer service and communication. I’ve worked hard to set up a community and family oriented customer base for many years and feel that aspect is most important, having longstanding relationships that are mutually supportive.
We also are big on recycling and aim for a green shop. We have a service that picks up and disposes oil from oil changes and folks bring in waste oil because they know our Clean Burn Furnace works on used oil (fry and motor). We use green cleaning products. I feel it’s important to be environmentally friendly.
LH: How would you like to see your business grow?
SC: First I’d like to continue to see our local economy grow. I was born and raised in New Paltz, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of this growth and would like to continue along with this natural progression.
LH: What is your favorite part about what you do?
SC: I truly enjoy connecting with people, meeting and helping folks out. I love seeing customers’ children grow up and working on their cars, and then their children’s cars. I enjoy connecting with my role in the community as keeping families safe. Sometimes it can be challenging though; big personalities do show up from time to time.
LH: How does your business fit into the larger movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?
SC: I really reinforce the community aspect that is growing stronger in the Hudson Valley. We have a homemade lunch we share everyday. Connections in the waiting room with like-minded customers happen frequently. When you come here it’s very laid back; kids are playing and parents are networking. We are also very meticulous and organized, making sure to provide the best service to our clients.
LH: What measures do you and your business take to support local economy?
SC: We have made monetary donations to support the Boy Scout troop, Family of New Paltz, and the local Veteran organization. If a good cause needs help handing out fliers I will pitch in, and we have an area in the waiting room for local business advertisements with a large book of local biz cards to flip through. Most of our customers are local business owners.
We are happy to service the Clearwater vehicles (grateful for their efforts in caretaking and awareness for the river).
LH: How have you been using Currents in your business? And/or how do you plan to use them?
SC: We accept half of all payments in the form of Currents. And we use Currents for marketing and advertising. As a member of the HV Current Advisory Board, I’m excited about sharing advice with other Current members on how to maintain friendly, honest, successful businesses.