Chevrolet service center coping with COVID-19


Jason Stewart

Owner Scott LaRiche takes the temperature of employee Bert Saucido.

Lou LaRiche is in the process of reopening after Governor Gretchen Whitmer temporarily shut down all non-essential businesses March 23. The service center is planning to make some physical and operational changes to its business to make it safer.

According to Bert Saucedo, a service manager with Lou LaRiche since 2008, the company is planning to “start with a small crew for a week, then start bringing employees back as needed.” 

The process started on May 4, with a few employees working; they are repairing as many vehicles as possible with the limited crew. Because of trying to limit the crew, the showroom will remain closed. This means no Chevrolet cars will be sold until further notice. The company will focus on the service center and parts and collision instead.

“Business is very limited right now. We have to focus on keeping everyone involved healthy with social distancing. We also want to make sure all our customers’ cars can get them back and forth to their essential jobs,” said mechanic Jason Stewart. 

Before Lou LaRiche was shut down, workers were already wearing gloves as a part of their usual PPE while fixing cars, said Saucido. On March 16, the week before the shutdown, they started sanitizing everything customers may have touched. Now they have been advised by Scott LaRiche via email to start wearing masks and to spray disinfectant in the cars after working on them. 

The service center has established a protocol to protect customers. “All employees are wearing PPE while working and interacting with customers,” Saucido said. 

The service center has posted signs at entrance doors requiring all employees and customers to wear masks in the building.  “If they do not have one, we will provide a mask,” said Saucido. There are now multiple signs advising customers to stay six feet apart to maintain social distancing. The business will limit the number of customers waiting while their cars are being fixed.

“We have limited the amount of traffic in the building and customers are to remain in their vehicles during the write-up process in the service drive,” he said.

At times customers have been resistant to wear a mask indoors according to Marc Young, the dealership’s service advisor.  Young has told customers to put on a mask or leave. Most customers have followed protocol without being told to. Young said customers seem to appreciate that Lou LaRiche has a plan in place for their safety.

Despite the national shortage the business is confident in its inventory. “Because we remained closed up until now, we had a good supply of rubber gloves and cleaning supplies,” Saucido said. “We are working with our parts suppliers and other dealers if need be to get what we need to repair customer vehicles as quickly as possible.”