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ATRA News: Business Journal Articles

USA Transmission featured in Houston Business Journal

Friday, June 18, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Zach McVicker
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Gary and Gerald Vess' shop was featured in the Houston Business Journal. Read the whole article here:

To compete in an industry traditionally fueled by testosterone, USA Transmissions is getting in touch with its feminine side.

In the last few years, the chain of automotive shops in the Houston area and East Texas has spiffed up its image to appeal to women, after some studies have shown that females now represent 80 percent of transmission customers.

Gone are the days when customers wandered into a noisy, exhaust-perfumed garage to hail a grease-smudged mechanic. Today, visitors to USA Transmissions encounter stylish front offices and waiting rooms with potted plants, framed artwork, Woman’s Day magazine and designer decor. Each shop has free bottled water, complimentary Wi-Fi and a scent machine that keeps the place smelling baby-powder fresh.

"When you walk (into) our facilities, they’re clean,” says Gerald Vess, the company’s president and CEO. "We have our guys wearing dress pants and dress shoes with a uniform shirt so that we don’t look like grease monkeys. All these things combined make it a more lady-friendly atmosphere.”

Vess and his brother Gary Vess Jr. — the company vice president and chief operating officer — also amped up advertising, raised salaries to attract more qualified employees and changed the company’s name to avoid confusion with a competitor. They also endeared themselves to local folks by sponsoring youth athletics and donating to community causes.

Those changes helped fine-tune the business their father opened in Livingston almost 30 years ago. Today, the company also has shops in Conroe, Huntsville, Cleveland and Lufkin, and the Vess brothers plan to continue expanding toward Houston.

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