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Atlantic Avenue fixture gets new ownership

Customers of a longtime fixture in the Atlantic Avenue area likely have noticed few changes in recent months, but Browncroft Garage Inc.’s new owner said he has some improvements in store for the nearly century-old business.

“We still want to keep it the best garage in the city,” new owner Scott Posadny said. “Besides that, we want to make the place a little more attractive and a little more customer-friendly, bring some technology up-to-date.”

The shop already has increased the staff from three to four, Posadny said, and he has interviewed a potential intern for summer work.

“Over time we will slowly grow that,” Posadny said of staffing.

Posadny and former owner, Eric Koesterich, declined to discuss details of the recent acquisition—including revenues prior to Posadny taking the helm—but when keys to the garage changed hands in March, Posadny received a customer list of 5,000 names.

“The garage has quite the history,” Koesterich said. “The person I bought it from actually worked there for somebody else in 1927, so it is an old, established Rochester garage and was pretty big in the ’50s.”

Founded in the mid-1920s by brothers Louis and John Prinzing, Browncroft Garage originally was at 24 Browncroft Ave. In 1932 the business moved to 762 Atlantic Ave., where the familiar brick building still sits.

At its heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s Browncroft Garage offered towing service and a parts department—and it was open 24 hours a day. During that time the shop employed roughly 20 people. Koesterich bought the business in 1982.

“Business isn’t getting any easier. It’s a young man’s business,” Koesterich said of his decision to sell this year. “I put a lot of time into it.”

His decision was not predicated on a change or decline in business, but rather a plan he had set in motion some time ago when he began buying real estate, Koesterich said.

Posadny and Koesterich had worked together several years ago when Posadny was interning with Koesterich through Monroe Community College’s automotive technician program.

“I could see at that point he knew a significant amount about automotive, and he was very good with his hands,” Koesterich said. “So I knew in the future he would be a good mechanic, and good mechanics are hard to come by these days.”

Posadny previously worked for the Dorschel Group alongside Edwin Molina, who now serves as Browncroft Garage’s shop manager. In 2012 the two began toying with the idea of opening a garage together.

Molina had graduated from a Boards of Cooperative Educational Services automotive program in high school and spent five years in the military. When he returned home, he was unsure what his next career move should be when he discovered MCC’s automotive program.

“It became something I loved doing,” Molina said. “After working in the field for a couple of years, what I saw was helping run or owning a shop would be the best way to go.”

For his part, Posadny was bit by the entrepreneurial bug at the age of 13 when he began mowing neighborhood lawns.

“I kind of got into automotive in high school,” he recalled. “I started working at a local shop in Irondequoit and it grew from there.”

Posadny and Molina are master mechanics: highly trained and experienced technicians who are certified in various procedures and skills. Ensuring the rest of Browncroft Garage’s employees are up-to-date with their training will be an important part of the company’s success, Molina said.

Having employees with the right skills and experience is important to the company because Browncroft Garage offers automotive repairs for all makes and models, from brake work to engine rebuilding and electrical diagnostics.

“What we’re trying to do is get more classes and more employees involved in classes,” Molina said. “And we’re trying to encourage people to keep on top of their certifications. That’s pretty important as well.”

Additionally, Posadny plans to upgrade equipment and computers and improve scan tools used to diagnose and repair vehicles. Though the job sometimes has the “grease monkey” reputation, Posadny and Molina plan to look for and hire MCC graduates and others who are well-trained.

“Overall the technology is much more advanced and a lot of the work is spent on electrical and computer repair,” Posadny said. “It’s not all just nuts and bolts anymore.”

5/22/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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