Kindness Matters

2 02 2015



“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”

~ Matthew 6:3, NIV

Ever since Community Automotive Repair’s inception, this company has been built (literally) on charitable initiatives.  If you know our back story, it’s not something we’ve intentionally promoted to date.  This is in large part due to the Biblical verse cited above.  Now, any of you that have been around for awhile also know that we’re people of faith, but just the same it’s not been something we openly advertise.  We believe our actions should speak for themselves but then there’s that slight rub that says people of faith shouldn’t hide behind their beliefs.  All this to say, we’re not interested in being forceful about our morals or values, but we’re happy to share them with people that may inquire.  Being in business requires you/us to operate within ethical guidelines that dictate what level of transparency we may have in regards to our own personal beliefs.  It’s unfortunate to a degree, but painfully accurate.

To that end, we’ve almost never made a point to call attention to good works in which we may be involved.  We’ve engaged with local and regional endeavors in secret, for the most part.  However, that was then, and as Bob Dylan prophetically spoke years ago… the times, they are a changin’!  While we maintain it’s not our desire to shamelessly broadcast our philanthropic arm, we do believe there’s merit in partnering with you to maximize the benefit of these offerings.  How else would you be able to engage unless you were aware on some level?  In short, you wouldn’t.

As we’ve observed a significant percentage of our local friends launching their own charitable campaigns, we mostly (up to this point) have stood quietly along the sidelines.  We’ve had to discern our place in the fold, and that hasn’t been easy.  Perhaps it shouldn’t have been this difficult, but we submit it likely was because of our steadfast wrestling with being a sustainable and profitable local business, as opposed to building our legacy in private.  Suffice to say, our decision to be either of these entities was not made sheepishly or without laboring over the most appropriate way to do so.

Today, we’re happy to introduce you to three specific relationships we’ve had, in hopes (should you be willing and able) you may come alongside our efforts and help make an even bigger impact for these benefactors.  By design, we’ve given of our time, energy, or resources to benefit the following local organizations:

ICCF (Inner City Christian Federation) – providing affordable (and in some cases emergency) housing to those in need, learn more at

Kids’ Food Basket – attacking childhood hunger in West Michigan by providing sack suppers and empowering kids to help each other through educational programming, learn more at

Congress Plus – an afterschool (latch-key type) program within our neighbor Congress Elementary School’s campus, specifically designed to help local kids achieve greater leadership through elevated liberal arts programming.  Currently Congress Plus doesn’t have much of an online presence, but more information about Congress Elementary School is available at

We launched Kindness Matters infrastructure last year to better manage our continued support of these fine groups.  With that, our hope is to slowly release campaigns on site that promote different levels of engagement, in which you will be able to participate as little or as much as you’re able.  We hope arriving at this place of more public disclosure doesn’t misconstrue our sincere mission to assist these wonderful people without drawing attention to ourselves.  This isn’t about us, and we can’t express explicitly enough how the desire of our heart is that these organizations would receive the spotlight they both need and deserve.  It has been our deep pleasure to help where we’re able, and we’re even more eager to make a greater impact with your help.

We anticipate early 2nd quarter will introduce some opportunities for you to get involved, should you be interested. For example, services rendered at our place of business may include some credits to grow our donation, which in turn would become OUR collective gift.  Doing this alone all these years hasn’t been an exercise in futility, just that now we believe the power and influence of many can (and likely will) make an exponential difference.

Thank you for ongoing trust and confidence.  We don’t take the opportunity to serve you lightly, and greatly appreciate you choosing our local small business to address all your automotive service/repair needs.

Lastly, the aforementioned website upgrade is almost complete, and we hope to have a more user friendly and technologically advanced (read as quicker) space on the internet by the end of this month.

Kindness matters, friends… and so do you.



Best cars for (new) teen drivers, possibly…

21 07 2014


An inquiry we receive quite regularly from parents of newly turned teenage drivers is, “what might the safest possible option for my son/daughter be when it comes to cars on the road?”

A fair question, but not an easy one to answer.  Unfortunately, you’ll most often receive equally as many answers as people you ask.  For that reason we’ve decided to do a little research, and the NY Daily News recently published an article that appears to be relatively consistent with our findings.  Mind you, this is taking into account a brand new vehicle purchase.  We don’t necessarily feel that’s your best option, but if that’s the direction you’re leaning this list may prove to be quite helpful.

Alternatively, there’s a quality pre-owned vehicle.  The majority of people, we suspect, will fall into this category.  These days most vehicles are trustworthy.  The key is to learn how many owners there have been of each specific vehicle, whether or not there have been any accidents, if the routine maintenance has been performed, and if most of the miles were highway or city.  These four criteria form a sounding board for becoming a wise consumer when purchasing a new (to you) vehicle.

Whichever you may decide, we recommend your son/daughter first spend adequate time with your family vehicle, if for no other reason than to become familiar and confident with the ways of the road.  Of course, these days kids are required to spend a certain amount of time practicing, and in some areas actually cannot obtain their license without first attending a driving school.  No matter the degree of prerequisite training, make sure they’re well versed on safety guidelines and what it takes to become a defensive driver.

Stay safe, and best of luck to your new driver.

Stay safe during severe weather!

8 07 2014

Wyoming MI tornado

With most recent events in Kentwood and Wyoming Michigan, it stands to reason we should review how to properly respond to inclement weather while driving.  Thankfully, the American Red Cross has already gone to the effort of making simple to follow instructions.

Might go without saying that the safest possible position would not be to operate a motor vehicle during a major storm, but if you must these are very important factors to keep in mind.

Error on the side of caution, always.  It’s not worth risking your life, or perhaps somebody else.

Photo credit: Bill Smiewec, courtesy of Mlive

Local First Street Party 2014!

12 05 2014

This is one of our favorite local events of the season, every year. If you haven’t been, there’s no better time than NOW to make the necessary preparations. Here’s just a few reasons this is an event you don’t want to miss:

-outdoors (and the weather usually cooperates)
-amazing local food and drink
-incredible regional music and art showcase

If that’s not convincing enough, please direct your attention to the official lineup for this year’s party:

Local First Street Party 2014!

06.07.2014 / 3pm – midnight, in front of Bistro Bella Vita

Food vendors:

A Moveable Feast
Bandit Queen
Grand Rapids Pizza & Delivery
LINC Up Soul Food Cafe
Love’s Ice Cream
Montello Meat Market
Twisted Rooster
What the Truck

Entertainment lineup:

Grand Rapids Soul Club
Wazobia Grand Rapids
61Syx Teknique Street Dance Academy
Nathan Kalish and the Wildfire
Root Doctor
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers
Rick Chyme
Mustard Plug

(embedded video previews last year’s event, please note date/time change for 2014)

Honesty and integrity since 1975

11 02 2014

Schedule an appointment today.

Fork Fest 2013

22 10 2013

Autumn is in the air, and several of our friends are ready to meet you at beautiful Romence Gardens so you can sample their latest delicacies.

Who doesn’t love good food?  Seriously.

This is an amazing event we look forward to each year, and Thursday’s efforts are proving to be one for the ages.  More vendors have jumped on board than ever before, at least as far as we can tell.  (see image below)

Of the many things Grand Rapids continually does well, fresh homemade food simply must be at the top of the list.  It’s impossible (or highly unlikely anyway) for you to find this many unique dishes all under the same roof simultaneously.  On this level it’s unprecedented, truly.  What’s more, you can enjoy these delicious offerings while taking in acoustic stylings of the evening’s live entertainment, Hawks and Owls.

For this reason and many others, we highly recommend you secure a ticket today.  Limited passes are still available by contacting Local First, or through secure online purchase HERE.

Bon Appetit!


P.S. be sure to stop by the photo wall and say hello to our friends of stellafly!

Sponsor Graphic_092713

ArtPrize 2013

23 09 2013


If you’ve been anywhere near West Michigan the past five years, ArtPrize requires little to no introduction.  Nevertheless, it’s something we believe truly adds value to our community, and we’re proud of the way it brings more people to experience Grand Rapids.

This year’s not much different than last in terms of formalities, so you have over a thousand artists from all around the globe participating.  Like previous years, this may be a performance piece, a graphic arts presentation, a sculpture, an interactive collective, film documentary, or take on many other forms.  The point here being that art is subjective, and what may draw praise from one might result in criticism by another.

The founder, Rick DeVos, has maintained all along it’s about the “conversation.”  This is, to say, the focus is less about what some might consider good, bad, or indifferent, and everything to do with facilitating talks about the interaction with each piece, to boldly paraphrase.

Community Automotive Repair doesn’t have an official entry in this showcase, but we have plenty of friends, customers, and family participating.  This is a great time of year to take your loved ones through a tour of downtown, and even venture to some of the venues found outside the periphery.  Free entertainment can sometimes be hard to come by, but thankfully this adage does not hold true here.

Just about everything associated with ArtPrize will not lead to a thinner pocketbook, unless of course you should happen to fancy their merchandise.  A wide variety of impressive options are available in that regard, but naturally they have to draw the line of FREE somewhere.  All this to say, peruse the art at no charge but take something home for a nominal fee.

Don’t forget, The Rapid is a great way to see all ArtPrize has to offer, and you can do without the added pain of tired feet.  Public transit in Grand Rapids continues to improve and ride passes are available at each ArtPrize merchandise outlet.

Give yourself some time.  You don’t need to see everything in one, two, or even three days.  Choose a route and make it happen.  You’ll be glad you did.

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