Military veterans opening auto shop in Canton
By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON -- Two military veterans have opened an auto maintenance and repair shop, Northland Automotive and Performance, on Old Rt. 11 south of the village and are waiting for approvals for a used car dealership.
Mark Baker of Colton is a Coast Guard veteran who is working with a disability. He had a motorcycle accident in 2007 that damaged both legs. He came home after his accident and met Dean Murdock of Canton, a Navy veteran and his partner in the business.They have been operating at 544 Old Rt. 11, formerly Sovie’s Ford, since the first of the year, performing vehicle maintenance and repair.
“Dean is doing the shop side,” Baker said. “I’m in the process of getting certified to sell used vehicles,” Baker said, including securing a surety bond. Once that is set, they will have vehicles ready to go. Baker also said he is taking advantage of Clarkson University’s entrepreneurship programs.
Also very much involved in the business is Russ Matoes of Canton. He is helping Baker and Murdock “with the business side, advertising and helping get the shop ready,” among other things, Baker said.
The shop is a certified NAPA Auto Care Center, meaning that aside from availability of a wide variety of parts, they can offer warranties on many of those parts. If those parts fail, they can be replaced, if necessary, free of charge at any NAPA auto center.
Improving the performance of vehicles is their main interest. The two men met at a car show after their service was done. “We both like fast cars,” he said.
Baker said they are emphasizing honesty at their shop and in their work and he believes they’ve had some referrals already thanks to that policy.
They are offering 10 percent discounts to military veterans, police, firefighters and EMTs.