Orlando Colon helped Abdulqawi Guess fix his car as a favor. Now he’ll help him fix cars for the public, since Guess got city permission to expand his Newhallville tire-repair business.
Guess’s Access Auto Tires was one of three auto-related businesses—in Newhallville, Dixwell and the Annex—that got green lights to expand or open anew from the City Plan Commission at its meeting last week.
The approvals at the Wednesday night meeting came in the form of “certificates of approval,” or CALs.
Guess got his CAL to add auto repair service to the existing tire sales and repair at his busy garage on Bassett Street just off Dixwell. City Plan commissioners voted unanimously to grant Guess’s CAL after he satisfied aldermanic representative Adam Marchand’s concern that the new business would not clog the already busy location with cars lining up for the new alignments and other repair services to be offered.
One day four years ago, Guess’s car was broken down and stuck in the snow. Through a friend he found Colon to come to start it and to fix it. He did such a great job Guess asked if Colon would come work for him if he ever found the auto business he he was looking for. “He can fix anything,” Guess said
Guess said that Colon and he can tell from a tire’s wear what type of mechanical repair is needed. “Why pay for another [business] to do it? It’s DNA,” he said rhetorically.
Access sells used, new, and “almost new” tires. It will continue with that as 75 percent of the business and the repairs as 25 percent, Guess added.
Son Helps Seal Deal
A second City Plan approval was granted to Dynamic Auto, formerly known as Speedy Auto Service until Sajjad Chaudhary bought the business, at Hudson and Whalley in 2010.
In a poignant emotional moment in the usually fact-driven atmosphere of City Plan meetings, Chaudhary, a New Havener for 28 years, was asked if he had read the staff report approving his certificate, along with some standard conditions.
“Can I have my son come up and read them for me?”
There was a pause as the commissioners and small crowd of waiting petitioners wondered if it was a question of literacy. Then Chaudhary added, “I forgot my glasses.”
The Hyundais are Coming
The largest operation to obtain a CAL at the meeting was Quality Hyundai, whose owners plan to move their business from its current location on Route 1 in Branford to the site of a former U.S. postal facility at 115 Peat Meadow Rd. adjacent to the East Haven town line.
The business satisfied commissioners’ concerns—including that all deliveries of the new vehicles as well as the repair visits will come off a new access road in the rear of the property and not a one car-carrier turn onto residential Peat Meadow Road.
Annex Alderman Al Paolillo offered the support of the city and neighborhood for the move. That included a rezoning of the six-acre site from general business to automotive sales.
Quality Hyundai’s relocation is emblematic of a positive trend: bringing businesses from the suburbs to the city, Paolillo said.
Quality Hyundai’s owner Joseph Blichfeldt complimented the City Plan staff on its helpfulness. “Of course, the city is going to get a lot of taxes,” he added.