There’s red tape. And then there’s red tape wrapped around red tape.
When Casey Tinnin first learned in December of 2010 that the building he leased on N. Main Street for his test-only smog business would be torn down as part of the Caltrans realignment of the Highway 99 on and off ramp near Lathrop Road, he figured that the relocation process that the State offered would be more than adequate.
So when his lease was up in July of 2011, he moved out – putting all of his tools and equipment into a space that he would lease on Main Street that the State would help convert into a working business.
That was 15 months ago.
Earlier this month Tinnin official re-opened the doors to Tinnin’s 1A Quick Smog and Test-Only, and has since been seeing the steady customer base that once frequented his other establishment coming back – even if they don’t have to get their vehicles to pass the once every two-year pollution check.
And getting to see those that he cares about and forging relationships with his customers is the biggest reason that Tinnin started his business in the first place – leaving a job as a service writer for a Tracy mechanic shop in 2004 to take California’s smog tests and launch his family endeavor.
“Getting to see friends and visit with them is my favorite part about doing this,” he said. “I also get to work every day with my wife and get to spend time with her.
“Those are my two favorite things and I’m glad that I’m back doing them again.”
That’s not to say that there wasn’t a learning curve.
When Tinnin first opened his doors he quickly found out that a budget not only includes paying the bills but making sure that there’s enough money left over to advertise in order to bring in new customers.
Unlike standard vehicle repair businesses, Tinnin’s smog shop only gets paying customers once every two years so bringing in new customers is paramount – something that he does by providing outstanding customer service and hoping that word-of-mouth advertising will take off.
But even with all of the hoops that Tinnin had to jump through in order to finally get the doors open again, there’s always a silver lining.
“It’s great to be downtown,” Dana Tinnin said. “What a wonderful place to own a business. Support from the other businesses has been great.
“We’re just happy to be able to start serving our customers again.”
Tinnin’s 1A Quick Smog and Test Only is located at 145 N. Main Street Unit B. The site is accessible by the alley off of Center Street across from Chase Bank or the parking lot across from the Post Office on Maple Street.
The business is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (209) 824-4552.