When the deal on a second garage in Medford fell through, the owners of MVP Automotive in Bellport, Chris Hane and Dan Haynes, then looked at a place in nearby Brookhaven Hamlet.
They actually weren’t too thrilled about opening a second MVP just 2.6 miles away from their larger garage in Bellport Village.
Now they couldn’t imagine it any other way.
“Brookhaven was a good fit because it’s close enough where we can shuttle work or any of the guys back and forth,” Hane said. “And really it is a whole other market.”
The second MVP, located at 2515 Montauk Highway, opened early last month.
“It’s going to have to develop its own new family,” Haynes said. “In Bellport you have a lot of second-homeowners. They come out for the summer fun. On Montauk Highway it’s more of an everyday working demographic. We have that now, so we’re comfortable with it, we just don’t have the same percentages.”
Hane and Haynes, who became friends in the seventh grade in the Patchogue-Medford School District — as you could imagine, they sat close to each other in many classes — became business partners in 2005. That was about five years after Haynes started the company in a garage in Blue Point.
Haynes had quickly outgrown the two-bay location and found his current shop in 2002 moved into what used to be the Brown’s auto dealership on Main Street in Bellport Village.
Brown’s roots in Bellport date to 1917. The dealer moved to Route 112 in Patchogue in 1991.
“People still come in and ask when did Brown’s move,” Hane said with a laugh. “I say almost 30 years ago.”
The two attribute their success to providing top-notch repair service — Haynes is a ASE-certified master’s Mechanic — in a clean and professionally run garage.
Hane’s background is in computer software engineering.
“We try to present a very clean and friendly environment in our front office,” said Hane, who’s also the current president of the Bellport Chamber of Commerce. “You don’t walk in and you’re stepping in a puddle of grease here. You want people to come in and feel comfortable and relaxed, because spending a lot of money on your car is a stressful event. I certainly don’t like doing it.”
To spruce up the Brookhaven garage, MVP resurfaced the building, added some cultured stone facade to the finish, and gutted and redesigned the office.
“We had a vision of what we wanted our shop to look like, what we wanted to show people so that they felt comfortable going to us,” he said. “If you drive up and down [Long Island], you’ll see a lot of dirty shops. We didn’t want to do that.”
First photo: Dan Haynes checks out a Jaguar in Bellport Saturday. (Credit: Michael White photos)