In The News

The Record
October 26, 2007

Heights Service Station, Inc.
By Winnie Bonelli

Craig Sonderfan knows the feel and satisfaction of a finely tuned automobile. Most Saturdays, he can be spotted behind the wheel of his 1969 Chevy Chevelle competing at Island Dragway in Great Meadows.
Come Monday, however, Sonderfan shifts gears and turns his attention towards other people’s cars as owner of Heights service Station, Inc. in Midland Park.
Describing Heights Service Station as “a general repair and performance shop,” Sonderfan said he considers “preventative maintenance” a big priority.
“In today’s society everyone is so mobile and busy that being stranded without a car can be a real hardship,” he said. “We want to keep our customers safe so that they don’t break down. If we spot any potential future problems, we’ll let the customers know. Then they can decide what they want to do.”
He said some things have changed, for the better, in his line of work. “Years ago, if you got a foreign car in you didn’t even wan to take it apart until you could be sure of getting the parts. Fortunately, that’s changed. We deal with an excellent after-market parts place, so there’s good coverage. Even the service departments at the dealers will overnight whatever we need, so work can begin on a car the very next morning,“ Sonderfan said.
He credits the success of his business to his fellow mechanics – Bill VanGoor and Steve Burardeci.
“I have such dependable technicians on my staff,” he said. “Bill is a 10-year veteran of a Chrysler dealer and he has all this diagnostic expertise in his head. He has the patience to handle the intricate jobs involving electrical systems and computers. Steve only joined me recently, but we’ve been longtime friends. He brings 24 years of experience with a Ford dealership to the business. Both guys have positive attitudes and take pride in the challenges. They like to it through.”
At the same location since 1984, Sonderfan said his business has grown primarily through “word of mouth.” “You have a customer that’s dissatisfied or mad and 15 people are going to hear about it,” he said.
One future service option Sonderfan is especially excited about is becoming state-licensed as an Emissions Repair Facility.
To contact Heights Service Station, Ink. 70 Glen Ave., Midland Park, call (201)444-6753

SmartChoice News
July 2007
Customer Spotlight
Heights Service Station Inc.
Midland Park, New Jersey

Shop Owner’s Hobby Ties in Nicely with Business

In 1984, Craig Sonderfan was faced with a critical Decision.
The owners of the automotive repair shop that he was managing had decided not to renew the lease on their business. “My choice was, go back to the job I had prior to that … which was an option … or go out on my own,” he recalls.
Sonderfan chose the riskier, but potentially more rewarding, choice. He purchased a Midland Park, New Jersey, facility and opened Heights Service Station Inc. From day one, Sonderfan says, the shop has been a loyal customer of Saddlebrook, New Jersey-based ProStock Auto Parts.
“They’re local, they provide excellent service, and they provide the best quality parts of anybody around here,“ he explains. “They’ve been my primary supplier since I’ve been in business.”
Thanks to the circumstances surrounding his decision to open the shop, Sonderfan was fortunate to retain many of his past customers.
Today, the three-bay shop counts among its customers many of their friends, relatives, and neighbors. Business has grown “tremendously” over the years, Sonderfan says, primarily because of word-of-mouth and referrals.
Being located “right in the middle of a residential area” where “we’re the only business in sight” has its advantages, too. “That location really sets us apart from less-visible competitors and works to our benefit.”
Sonderfan describes his business philosophy as a commitment to providing value, expertise, and thorough, honest service. “Our goal is to provide total car-repair and –care,” he says.
Sonderfan works side-by-side with technician Bill VanGoor, who his boss describes as having a positive attitude and a love of what he does. VanGoor, who is ASE-certified and has 10 years of experience working for a Chrysler dealership, has been an asset to the shop from the day he started, Sonderfan says.
“He’s got a lot of good experience with the newer cars and high-tech diagnostic procedures,” he says. Especially considering the shortage of qualified (and motivated) technicians, Sonderfan says he feels fortunate to have such a dependable technician on staff.
“It really makes a difference in the overall productivity of the business,” he adds.
While Heights Service Station is a general repair facility that “does it all,” the shop does have one niche: “We’re known as a performance shop,” Sonderfan says. “We work on muscle cars.”
VanGoor specializes in performance upgrades to sport-compact, front-wheel-drive cars. Sonderfan also is very experienced in the performance category, having been a drag-racing enthusiast for the past decade.
Drag-racing is “near and dear to my heart,” he says. He races competitively, usually at the Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey.
Another soon-to-be niche for Heights Service Station is emission-repair. The shop is in the final stages of becoming a state-licensed emission-repair facility. “We’ve completed all the state-mandated training and classes for it … we’re just finishing up the paperwork.”
When that’s completed, the business will be listed in a book of qualified emission-repair shops. “When somebody fails their state inspection, they’ll look for a shop that’s convenient to them. Hopefully that will be us.”

  • Heights is located at:
    70 Glen Ave.
    Midland Park, NJ 07432
    0ffice (201) 444-6753
    Fax (201) 493-1444

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