Best Auto Dealer
Porcaro Ford, 6001 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant
Readers gave Porcaro Ford the top spot for auto dealer in this year’s Best of Racine County contest. The dealership, located along Washington Avenue, edged out two others — Palmen and Frank Boucher — down the street, based on readers' selections.
Porcaro Ford, owned by brothers Mark and Anthony Porcaro, also took the top spot in this category last year, the inaugural year for this category. The Porcaro brothers also operate the Mitsubishi dealership next door.
Anthony Porcaro said he believes the dealership has remained a staple in the Racine County region because of its blended commitments toward high-quality customer service and a competitive selection of vehicles.
“We’re one of the last locally owned dealerships in the Racine area,” Porcaro said. “In terms of our longevity, I think we provide a level of fairness that the customer knows and has come to expect. We’re also very personable.”
Porcaro Ford first opened in 1978 as a small car company and has grown and evolved in the four decades since.
In addition to its main dealership, Porcaro Ford also features an in-house service and parts department.
Second place: Palmen Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Racine, 8320 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant
Third place: Frank Boucher Chevrolet Cadillac, 8600 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant
Best Auto Repair
AC Auto Body, 2819 S. Memorial Drive, Mount Pleasant
Thirty-one years ago, Anthony “Tony” Coey took a big plunge, taking on the mortgage and overhead for his current location at a time when his first child was on the way.
“It was a big step, but it was worth it. It paid off,” Coey said.
After years of putting in 12- to 14-hour days, Coey, 56, has enough trust in his employees that he can occasionally take a little time off now and then.
He has 20 employees spread out among the various branches of his business — auto repair, body work and car sales. At least half of his mechanics are ASE certified by the National Institute for Auto Service Excellence.
But even with the help, including three people in the office, you will still find Coey answering phones and doing 80 percent of the service quotes and estimates.
So what is the secret to AC Auto Body netting Best Auto Repair for three years running? Coey says it’s partly being a location for one-stop service: AC does everything automotive-related except transmissions and exhausts. (At the time of this writing, Coey was working on securing a tenant to handle transmissions next door to his business).
He also continues to invest in the business. For example, he recently purchased a $28,000 alignment machine.
But the key to AC’s success, Coey said, is simple: “Customer service is No. 1. Everyone is happy when they walk out the door here."
Second place: Pinkalla Auto Solutions, 3059 Durand Ave., Racine
Third place: Stu’s Auto Service, 3824 Washington Ave., Racine
Best Car Wash/Detail
Rocket Wash, 4733 Spring St., Mount Pleasant
Newly opened Rocket Wash unseated longtime champion Victory Car Wash in this year’s race for the best car wash and detailing operation in the Racine area.
Rocket Wash is owned by the Willkomm family, who operate a dozen gas stations, restaurants from Kenosha to Oak Creek, in addition to the new car wash.
Michael Willkomm, who helps run Rocket Wash and the 11 other businesses, said the operation stands out from the pack with a highly efficient service that builds on the latest technological advancements.
Vehicles pass in and out of Rocket Wash in two minutes and five seconds, Willkomm said, because of the infrastructure that is in place.
“This is the first car wash of its kind in the area to have this kind of technology,” Willkomm said. “Rocket Wash is the next generation of car washes. It’s very different from the traditional method that’s out there.”
The family built the Rocket Wash name from scratch. Despite the challenges of introducing an unknown brand and concept, Willkomm said he and other family members involved in daily operations have been pleasantly surprised by the community’s response since the first car was cleaned in late January.
“We’re thrilled about it,” Willkomm said. “It’s exceeded our expectations.”
Second place: Victory Lane Car Wash, 5310 Washington Ave., Racine
Third place: Royal Car Care, 3829 Douglas Ave., Racine