We had the good fortune of connecting with Shahe Koulloukian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shahe, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
This is a wonderful question. Generally, most business success is based on many factors, such as talent, hard work, fresh ideas and sales. These are important factors, no doubt, but when your business is in service, you have to remember to understand the emotional factor. Cars are a huge part of our lives, when we are not at home, we are in your cars. It’s the subconscious safe place to be when you’re not at home. I have been very blessed to understand that my service responsibility is to impact all my customers to think sensibly and not emotionally, my bottom line is secondary. From the moment a consumer makes the decision to go out and purchase a vehicle, it’s all based on emotional satisfaction. The color, the power, the sunroof, the 4×4 the leather, the shiny wheels and all the bells and whistles that go along with it. No one is asking, what the doe the car weigh? and what affect will that weight take when I get into a collision? What is the tire size? and how much will new tires cost me 3 years from now? What type of oil does my vehicle take? if I am told a price on an oil change, will I know if it’s the right oil for my car or the best oil for the shops bottom line? Does my vehicle have a spare tire? as most newer vehicle do not because they have run flat tires. These factors may seem silly but actually are very important when you’re stuck having to make choices for repairs. Being emotionally attached to something can block sensible thinking and the openness to hear the truth. The truth I share will always have short term conflicts but it will provide my customer long term peace. What is success? For me its accomplishment! Everyday I aspire to bring awareness to every single car owner to learn the relationship between the exciting and emotional moment they purchased the vehicle to the financial and sensible moment they began to understand about car ownership responsibility. As for branding, it’s important for a small business to generate recognition but I believe it’s more than that. To have a successful brand, it needs to provide value with inexhaustible trust that it aspires continued referrals. They say you have to be passionate to fuel your success and I whole hardheartedly agree. I believe that it’s not very difficult to become passionate, but it is incredibly difficult to stay committed.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Life is like a game of chess, there are many pieces, but all it takes is one piece to win. Winning comes from being empathetic and caring. My first chess move in life was when I was around 13 working at my uncle’s mechanic shop. It was February in Philadelphia with snowflakes like the size of maple leaves, cold and wet. The phone rings and my uncle answers, it’s a stranded customer on the side of the road. Without hesitation, my uncles grabs 3 phone books from his office and walks me out to a ford tow truck and says, get in! He adjusted the seat and asks; can you reach the brakes? Yes, I say… Good! Now go down this road and when you get to ginos deli, make a right and you will see a chevy impala, talk to him and see what he needs! Mind you, I am 13 years old, no license, no expert experience with repairing cars, you can’t see more than 2 feet in front of you with all the heavy snow! I ask, how am I going to do that uncle? You will figure it out, its cold out and you can’t just leave him on the side of the road, if you don’t understand why his car won’t start, just bring him here back to the shop, I know you can do that!! Now, put yourself in this scenario, how would you handle it? At that very moment, I realized that he did not instruct me to ask for money, he didn’t instruct me anything more than get him out of the cold weather! This is when I realized that to be in the service business, you had to do that very thing, TO Be Of Service, not matter how you do it! That was the log that fueled my fire, to be of service, not selling, but solving! Every business has challenges and it’s just part of life. I have been blessed to have been taught by my parents and mostly my uncle that if you consistently have open and honest dialogue, it naturally prevails into success, no matter what business you’re in. I have realized that when my customers say, I don’t know, it’s not their fault! In our current click-based times, convenience always wins over effort. This is when I step in to explain the importance of understanding the basic fundamentals of car ownership and its responsibilities. To be a consummate professional, you cannot chase the bottom line, instead you have to focus on building a valuable relationship based on trust. It’s important to make sure you do not skip steps and do it half-ass. It’s crucial that no matter how busy or slow your business is or however many years you have been in business, you must treat every single day like your grand opening day! Loaded with passionate ambition and enthusiasm. Running a business is imperfect and for the last 38 years I have been doing this, every day I’m doing my best to get it right.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Arizona is a beautiful state with amazing landscape and history. Like the many travels I have had and countries I have lived in, the best way to enjoy or discover new places is to get to know the people first. Day one, I would start with the visual sites first, like a day trip to Sedona and experience slide rock and Jerome and let all its interesting ghost history sink in with lunch at Haunted Burger. Day two, I would hit downtown Phoenix and showcase its beauty and historic Hotels, like The San Carlos. Then a quick trip to Tempe town lake for a tug boat ride around the lake Now for yum-yum…. I would spread out the eateries over the course of the week. Day three, we start with Breakfast Bar Kitchen at Scottsdale quarter. Next stop lunch at Pizzeria Bianco at heritage square and dinner at Marigold Maison in NE phoenix. Day four, we start with Mat’s big breakfast in central phoenix, then lunch at kebab grill and go on 16th st in phoenix with dinner at Tutti Santi on 16th st near the point Day five, we start with Hash kitchen for breakfast in Scottsdale, lunch at Chili China on 3rd st in Phoenix, with dinner at point Hilton tapatio on 7th street Before they leave, I would take them to desert botanical garden and a visit and lunch at the Wriggly Mansion.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To reach a milestone of accomplishment, you cannot forget to recognize your everlasting support. Family has a lot to do with it, no doubt! My lovely wife for always whispering, keep at it! My dear mother for providing me the strength to believe in myself and for my two sons for always reminding me that they aspire to be like me. That is the concreted grounding my business success stands on. The gratitude to all my customers for all their continued patronage and trust is the building foundation that keeps my doors open. A special thank you goes out to a wonderful organization that allows me to ignite my passion to empower that happens to be the only affordable car ownership program in Arizona, SHIFT-Labor’s Community Service Agency. My gratitude has nothing to do with financial gains or profit, it’s a heartfelt thank you for allowing me to continued what I have aspired to do from the first day I opened Mazvo Car Care Center, to make sure every car owner gets empowered—takes control—and stays fearless. SHIFT is amazing in Securing Help In Family Transportation that provides an innovative approach to addressing the lack of affordable transportation accessible to low income families with poor credit and limited resources. Their goal of this financial empowerment program is to target families with an income below 80 percent of the area median income, who identify a lack of transportation as the primary barrier to achieving a living wage and economic stability. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this great organization that changes lives through caring and empowerment! To everyone that has been involved, from my family to my friends, to every person I have shaken hands with and every person that allowed me share my values, I give you all my humble and gracious thanks!!