Palmyra Automotive changes hands

By Page H. Gifford

After owning Palmyra Automotive for 27 years, Wayne Davis retired and sold it to Ian and Ashley Muir in April of this year. Davis established the automotive repair business in 1994 in the town of Palmyra and relocated it to Sycamore Square ten years later. It had always been a family-run business and those who had their cars repaired remember Davis’ daughter Casey and others who had been with the business for many years. It was personal, local, and trusted, the way people had always known it. The Muirs assure customers they will be carrying on the same tradition and values of the business Davis had shown for so many years.

 “Palmyra Automotive has been and continues to be a locally and family-owned business. We have known the previous owners for many years. Ian and I grew up with their daughter Casey, here in Fluvanna and we were close childhood friends,” said Ashley Muir. “We respect and admire the business that Wayne Davis has built over the last 27 years. We intend to maintain the same work ethic and ideals that he instilled in this business.”

Both Ashley and her husband, owner Ian Muir, were born and raised in Palmyra and live  in Troy with their five-year-old daughter and Giant Schnoodle Senna.

Ian has 17 years of experience as an automotive technician, specializing in Infiniti and Toyota vehicles.  He also has auto-body experience.  A graduate of Longwood University, Ashley was a business and marketing major. She is not employed at Palmyra Automotive in the day-to-day operations but says they make many decisions as a family, and she assists with bookkeeping and any extra help needed around the shop.

“We have retained all of Palmyra Automotive’s employees, whom customers have trusted and relied on for many years,” said Ashley. In June they added another mechanic to their team. “He is a BMW master tech and Toyota specialist which has expanded our team’s knowledge and ability to work on an even more broad range of vehicles.”

What the Muirs have changed is incorporating more technology and bringing the business up to current, competitive standards. They are increasing local marketing initiatives and expanding their IT usage in their office.  They now offer email and text messaging for appointment reminders, quotes, and invoices. Credit cards are now accepted without any fees to the customer.  They intend to become more active in the community and support local charities and fund drives.

“We are a smaller shop with four mechanics who have expansive automobile knowledge, including vehicle computer technology. However, there are cases when a newer vehicle requires a special device or tool to program or update the computer system, in those cases we will refer customers to trusted specialists or dealerships who have the computer equipment to service these more advanced systems,” she said. “We are a small business that works on a wide range of vehicles, which allows us to offer service and maintenance to all of our local customers. Generally, we can service the larger percentage of vehicles that are brought into our shop.”

She said they recently had to re-close their waiting room due to increased COVID cases locally.

“Despite the impact of COVID on many businesses we’ve been very fortunate to experience a minimal decrease in business. We have made a few changes to our business processes to continue to safely assist our customers with their car maintenance and repairs.”

She adds, “We intend to maintain the same work ethic and ideals that he instilled in this business. We wish him the best of luck and happiness in retirement. We look forward to assuring that our patrons continue to receive honest and quality workmanship at fair prices.”

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