“Talk to them – it’s better if you hear it from the customers directly,” he says.
Nora Bruno didn’t need much prodding about why she’s been making the trek down from San Rafael over more than 15 years.
“Paul is very thorough, knowledgeable and professional,” she says. “His team take the time to explain everything to you in clear terms, not just rushing you through the process. They don’t push, just make sure that you understand what needs to be done.”
As she awaits her Toyota Highlander, Reggie DeLeon agrees. “It’s personalized service,” she says. “I trust them, and the most important thing is that they don’t push, just inform.”
Haddad moved to the Bay Area in 1986 to run a gas station in San Ramon, then took over the 76 station on Tiburon Blvd. near the Cove shopping center. He sold that shop in 1998, as his Mill Valley Auto Repair at 356 Miller Ave., now home to Henrybuilt, was thriving since he opened it in 1994. Along the way, he launched Sausalito Auto Service off Bridgeway in 2003 before he sold it in 2010. When the owner of 356 Miller sold the building in 2014, Haddad moved Mill Valley Auto Repair to Tam Junction.
So what does Haddad credit for his decades-long run as a thriving auto repair shop owner in Mill Valley and the surrounding areas? Service and knowledge, first and foremost, he says, but one characteristic more than anything.
”I am most known for giving honest advice,” he says. “I say it just the way it is, even if I have to tell them that their car is not worth fixing, which is sometimes hard for a car owner to hear. But it’s the right thing, rather than spending thousands of dollars on a car that will be back in here soon after.”
Haddad, who grew up learning about cars from his car-loving father and uncle in Lebanon, also credits his team of mechanics, who he makes sure are regularly educating themselves on the ever-changing landscape of diagnostic-related software changes in modern cars.
While his longstanding relationships may keep Mill Valley Auto Repair busy, Haddad admits that the ever-present traffic jams through Tam Junction also helps his business get people’s attention.
“We have our phones ringing every day from new customers,” he says.