Take one step into Issaquah’s TAJ Collision Center and the importance of family is abundantly clear.
Nearly 60 years of history in the automotive industry proudly adorns the walls in form of photos, drawings and newspaper clippings.
According to Simon Tajer, son of TAJ founder Manouchehr Tajer, his family’s formula for longevity and success in the industry is simple.
“My exact motto over the years has pretty much been the same,” he said. “We treat every car as if it is our own car.”
That idea was started by Manouchehr, who opened the collision repair shop in 1994 after moving from his native Iran to be closer to family in Issaquah. After 50 years in the business, including a stint as a paint specialist with Mercedes Benz, he retired in 1996 and turned full ownership of TAJ over to his son in-law, Mo Shoshahi.
Shoshahi, who has more than 30 years of automotive repair experience, was quick to adapt to his father-in-law’s philosophy.
“It’s not about the money. We have to have a good relationship with the customer,” he said.
Simon came to work with Shoshahi shortly after he took the reigns in ‘96. He was working as an IT computer specialist in Canada, but also had extensive experience in the automotive repair business. In fact, he spent time working for the fourth-largest repair company on the Eastside. Simon noted that the differences between the larger shops and TAJ are significant.
“Cars come in, and you don’t even get to see the customer,” he said. “The car is in the back and you don’t even get to see what’s happening to it. You don’t get time to do an inspection because the volume is so many. It’s so (much) different than what we do here.”
On average, TAJ, a six-person shop, works on 15 to 20 cars a week, and three to four people supervise the product every step of the way. They occasionally get a guest appearance from Manouchehr, 79, who has a difficult time staying out of the garage.
“He wants to work,” Shoshahi said, laughing. “I say ‘No, don’t work.’”
Simon noted the larger shops are often in the range of 60 to 80 per week and are likely to have one person working on product.
Also unique to TAJ is its offer of a lifetime guarantee on all services. Simon said larger shops generally have lists of services they won’t cover under guarantees.
“In here, you don’t even ask questions,” he said. “Everyone of those customers is like jewels to us because they bring more customers.”
The willingness to go above and beyond and pay special attention to detail has drawn hundreds through the garage in recent years, including the likes of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jay Buhner.
And with all the success, there are certainly no plans to expand or change the small-garage formula.
“The bottom line is we decided to take care of customers,” Simon said.
TAJ Collision Center is located at 60 N.W. Gilman Blvd., #D. Call 425-557-7993 for more information.