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.



Honesty and integrity since 1975

11 02 2014

Schedule an appointment today.

Party in the Street!

24 05 2013


Saturday, 06.01.13

That’s right, you heard us correctly.  As soon as you’ve secured the area and made sure you’re out of harm’s way, dance like nobody is watching… in the street!  We’re proud to help spread the word about this event every year.  2013’s installment of this favorite local showcase marks the 10th time our Local First friends have thrown this gala.  Let us tell you, there certainly have been countless memories forged in that span, and it’s great to see there are no signs of stopping anytime soon.

The fun kicks off at 3pm and is scheduled well into the late evening hour.  This is a FREE event, complete with a wide variety of local art, music, and fare.  The lineup is as follows:

You heard us mention food, right?  Boasting a very impressive group of vendors this year, Local First Street Party 2013 will offer the following choices:

And finally… it’s not often you attend a Local First event without also having the opportunity to partake in some amazing craft beer.  But don’t fret, if non-alcoholic is your preference, they have you covered as well.  Eager to help you wash down the delicious food, a few favorites will be on hand:

This is a celebration you will NOT want to miss, and it’s designed for the entire family (women, men, and children alike).  Special thanks to our Local First family for continuing to support this endeavor each year.  This simply would not exist without each and every one of us, and it’s a real privilege to be among all of you.  See you at the party!


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Join Us

13 05 2013


These two words (refer to subject heading) are the mantra of the 2nd Annual Fund Drive for The Rapidian (05.14.13 – 05.19.13).  We can appreciate if this causes you to flashback to a riveting scene of Star Wars, where Darth Vader himself is using the Force to convince Luke to “join” the Dark Side.  However, we assure you this story has a far better ending, not to mention the lack of some fairly awkward family lineage.

No, this is an entirely different journey altogether.  We have been proud supporters of The Rapidian for two years now, and we’re pleased to come alongside this latest effort to gather resources for their (and ultimately our, as in you AND us) benefit.  You see, as will be adequately described HERE, joining this community is far more rewarding than one may realize.  This is a driving force (of course, not to be confused with the aforementioned Force) that makes things happen, but we/you make it possible for them to effect positive change.  We work in concert, to help shape the future of our respective areas, but more importantly the people within them.

Community Automotive Repair has enjoyed our local alliance, if you will, that consists of all arms of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center (WYCE, Wealthy Theatre, GRTV, The Rapidian), Local First of West Michigan, and Uptown (East Fulton, Wealthy, East Hills, and Eastown).  We’re all family, and each of us wish to see one another thrive.  What’s more is that, we truly receive the greatest confirmation when people within our collective community are the benefactor of these fine organizations’ work and mission.

Among other things, this blog will continue to be a place we’ve reserved for updates, events, and other notable news from our local partners.  As it pertains specifically to this initiative, The Rapidian needs our (and your) help today.

Ways you can become involved are as follows:

Stopping by their office at 1110 Wealthy St SE
Call: 616.459.4788 ext. 124
Donate online HERE

Or for those of you on facebook, you can join their event page that contains all necessary details HERE.

On behalf of all our local friends, thank you for considering how you might Join Us.

(after all, these ARE the droids you’re looking for)


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10 x 10

17 08 2012

CAR is taking the Pledge!

In another case where the announcement speaks for itself, all of us at Community Automotive Repair are proud to share and support this year’s Local First 2012 campaign, 10 x 10.  The potential impact of this program is enough to make great strides in our local marketplace.  We’re pleased to do our part by promoting, participating, and providing encouragement to all those choosing to accept this challenge.  And so without further ado, here’s the official press release our friends made available a couple days ago, in which instructions on how to get involved are clearly explained.

Please consider joining us.  We greatly look forward to making a big difference, collectively.


August 15, 2012
Contact: Seth Galligan

(616) 808-­‐3788

Local First Launches 10×10 Pledge to raise $100,000 for the local food system.

10×10 Pledgers will shift $10 of their weekly food budget to local food for 10 weeks.  Local First aims to get 1000 people to sign the pledge who will together shift $100,000 to the local food system.
The Pledge: I pledge to be part of a healthy, sustainable food system by shifting $10 of my weekly food budget for 10 weeks toward local food sources. 

The 10×10 Pledge, presented by Valley City Linen, starts on August 28th and will last for 10 weeks.  Local First is aiming to have 1000 people sign by the start date but will welcome late joiners.  During the ten weeks, Local First and the many sponsors (listed and linked below) of the 10×10 Pledge will provide support for pledgers in the form of emails including information about how to get the best local food, deals, recipes, and “eat local” tips.  Support for pledgers will come in the form of social network interactions via a Facebook Group “The 10×10 Pledgers,” and conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #10×10.  Local First will also host numerous free workshops that will be open to pledgers and the general public.

The main objective of the pledge is to show how easy it is to make a big difference in our local food system.  A 10×10 pledger can start with something as simple as finding a local source for their morning coffee.  For someone who is already skilled at getting food locally, they might need to be more creative in finding that extra $10 a week to shift to a local food producer.  Local First hopes to hit the goal of 1000 pledgers this year and aims to expand that in years to come.  If in the future 10,000 people, just around 5% of the population of Grand Rapids, sign the pledge, a shift of $1 million dollars could be created.  The 10×10 Pledge will conclude on October 30th and Fork Fest, a grand finale celebration featuring over 30 of the best local food and beverage producers will be held in the Greenhouse at Romence Gardens on October 18th.  The pledge can be taken HERE.

[Social Networking]

Facebook Group: “The 10×10 Pledgers”

Twitter Hashtag:
Presenting Sponsor: Valley City Linen
Hosting Sponsor: Romence Gardens & Greenhouses
Print Sponsor: Crop Marks

10×10 Pledge Sponsors:
West Michigan Food Co-­‐op
Forest Hills Foods
Reds on the River
Bearboy Gourmet
Brewery Vivant
Superior Foods
Lubbers Family Farm

Blog Sponsors:
Eat Local, West Michigan!
Kitchen Stewardship

Local First is a nonprofit organization supporting sustainable economic development in West Michigan. Representing nearly 600 local business members, Local First is the largest “Buy Local” organization in the Midwest and the 3rd largest per capita in the United States. For more information on Local First and its efforts to promote a local living economy in West Michigan, please visit

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Local. Honest. Service.

30 04 2012

Our  farmers market (Fulton Street Farmers Market) is preparing to reopen Saturday.  This exciting news has us thinking about the importance of local marketplace.

Reputable pop culture site fanpop recently conducted another series of surveys.  When asked specific questions about what made The Brady Bunch or other famed sitcoms of our past the treasured icons they’ve become, the greater majority of responses described “simple, personal, relate-able, and local ” as ingredients for their mainstream success.  When you stop and think about it (and that’s what we’re asking you to do here), the latter is where it begins.  What does it really mean to be local?  Has your experience of “local” been met with “simple, personal, and relate-able?”  Let’s play further into this Brady Bunch example, where we believe the answer to at least one of these questions is easily found.

Who doesn’t remember Sam the Butcher?  What makes Sam’s character unforgettable, assuming you’ve followed along up to this point?  Some of the more popular answers offered through the fanpop survey included: “Sam was like extended family,” “Alice and the Brady family never really had to say much, Sam often knew their needs,” “Sam knew everyone in the Brady family well enough that it didn’t matter who showed up, he’d deliver every time,” and our personal favorite “Sam was the man, hands down.”  We’re not sure if that last opinion is to be read into further or if it’s just machismo, but either way it’s hard to refute.  Suffice it to say Sam was highly respected, trusted, and the person everyone turned to when there was a need for the type of services he offered.  Doesn’t that describe what most business owners would like to achieve?  Who wouldn’t want to be like Sam?

Whether it’s Sam the Butcher from The Brady Bunch, Aunt Bee of Mayberry, or perhaps even Arnold (early Pat Morita fame) from Happy Days, the aforementioned “simple, personal, and relate-able” apply across the board.  These are characters people easily fell in love with, and attributes they shared helped pave the way for many more winning formulas in television.  It’s less important who their successors might be today, rather we’d like to keep your attention on the heart of their character, respectively.

If you unpack the culture of these times and take a closer look at what worked best, you don’t really have to search further than local commerce.  Aunt Bee may be the exception but she still carried the heartfelt mentality of raising Opie, not unlike Sam and Arnold did with their patrons.  You see, in these times (fiction or not) there weren’t many national corporations competing for the attention of the public.  The “big box” places existed but careful research shows local business owners weren’t nearly as threatened (if they saw them as a threat at all) because the community at large had committed to a sustainable strategy, not the least of which was their own engagement, to promote and utilize services available through their neighborhood grocer, dentist, butcher, farmer, mechanic, doctor, etc.  How amazing would life be today if every one of us had our own “professional” when our need consisted of something we couldn’t/shouldn’t do ourselves?  We realize this isn’t Little House on the Prairie and Grand Rapids is far too vast to suggest only a few people could handle the masses, but is it wrong to be motivated by the “quality” this notion affords?  We think not.  Of course, it can be taken too far and one doesn’t have to look any further than the 1998 drama Pleasantville for the most exaggerated example of this.  After all, we’re not sure it’s a good idea for your doctor, postman, and baker to be the same person.  You get the point.

Where does Community Automotive Repair fit into these examples?  We’re glad you asked.  We contend our commitment to “local” offers an experience very similar to Arnold’s Diner or Sam’s Butcher Shop.  Our customers know we’ve served the greater Grand Rapids area since 1975, and since day one we’ve been devoted to doing so with friendly, honest, and dependable people.  Although the marketplace shifted and radical changes occurred, we’ve never strayed from our core values and continue to offer the same level of quality our customers deserve and expect.  We know and fully recognize that’s not possible without YOU.  We’re in this together.

For us, local means family.  Local also means sowing seeds into the community in which we/you live.  Local is a partnership, where business owners and people that depend on their services stand in the gap for each other.  Local is realizing your part in the equation and pursuing it with intense passion.  Local most definitely, among other things, is “simple, personal, and relate-able.”  Speaking emotionally, local is the feeling you get when you know you MATTER, when you can sense you’re not a mere statistic, and when you relate to the collective difference you’re making in the bigger picture.  Local doesn’t happen without a community.  As they say, “It takes a village…” and we’d like everyone reading this to know how much a privilege it’s been to be on this journey together.  As we discuss the future and turn to our partners, friends, and family alike, we’re deeply grateful and look forward to providing local, honest service for many years to come.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t make it a point to thank the incredible team of Local First of West Michigan for the many great opportunities to collaborate.  We decided long ago this was a movement and organization with which we placed a great deal of value, and they have truly surpassed any expectations we’ve had.  If you are in local business and haven’t already joined forces with Local First, we greatly encourage doing so today.  No business is too small or large, so long as you’re private (not publicly traded) and based in Michigan.  Local First’s 10% Shift campaign promotes and validates the ideas behind this blog entry, that the community in which we live will be a far better place if we intentionally support locally owned and operated businesses FIRST.

Consider your part.  Make a choice to save Michigan – buy local.

(Ann Arbor artist Amanda Jane Jones’ piece pictured above is for sale HERE)

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