Small business profile: Applewood Hills Auto

Honesty is supposed to be the best policy, but at Applewood Hills Auto, it’s the only policy.

“I haven’t had to do any advertising - all my business is word of mouth,” said Ever Cerros, owner of Applewood Hills Auto. “My satisfaction is when people walk out of here happy.”

Between the two mechanics, Ever Cerros and Jason Nand, Applewood Hills Auto has over 20 years experience in the auto repair industry. They do everything from maintenance repairs like oil changes to bigger procedures like engine replacements.

This operation was not easy to start and it wasn’t easy to build up to what it is now. He says that if it wasn’t for the support of his family, he wouldn’t be where he is now. 

“They were here night and day when we started, and now we are going on our fourth year and things are looking up,” said Cerros. 

Opening an auto shop in Mississauga is especially tough considering how much competition there is. From small businesses like Applewood Hills Auto to major corporations like Napa and Mr.Lube, this city has them all. 

On top of the competition, Cerros had to deal with a company that was decaying previous to purchasing it. The owner before Cerros was ill and not able to maintain a steady work schedule, which took a big chunk out of the customer base.

“I found out only after I started the shop that he wasn’t around for the last six months before I took over the shop. A lot of people went elsewhere so I basically had to start from zero,” said Cerros.

Starting from zero means having to attract new customers. This is a trying task in itself, but is made even more difficult when there is no signage from the street beyond the main listing for the Queensway & Dixie plaza.

“There is one big sign for the plaza, and I actually trim all the trees so you can see the plaza,” said Cerros, adding, “It’s tough to find us, but I’m really happy because there are a lot of people that come from Brampton, or Peterborough to see me - even from King City, and Hamilton.”

For those following their dreams and turning their passions into a career, Ever Cerros and Jason Nand have one big piece of advice: research. Creating and running a business requires a whole other set of skills that are critical to know or get help with before taking the plunge. 

However, they really only have one guideline that they follow every day.

“If you keep honest and do good work, it pays off.”