Growing Route 146 Auto Sales adds modern repair facility

Growing Route 146 Auto Sales adds modern repair facility

Joe LaVornia, owner of Route 146 Auto Sales, 1097 Eddie Dowling Highway, North Smithfield, poses with his daughter, Tara (LaVornia) Perreira, in front of his new, state-of-the-art repair facility at the rear of his offices.

NORTH SMITHFIELD - On a small hill just north of the Rustic Drive-In on Route 146, Joe LaVornia has been selling pick-up trucks since 2006. Like many who entered business just before the Great Recession slowed commerce for several years, LaVornia gradually built his sales on word-of-mouth.

On his choice of selling pick-up trucks, LaVornia said, "I figured, we'd better specialize. We needed a niche. We needed to focus on one thing, and be good at it." That was especially important when gas prices climbed to above $4 per gallon in 2007. And so Route 146 Auto Sales - where the sign says "truck, trucks, trucks" - was launched on three acres at 1097 Eddie Dowling Highway.

Now, with business much stronger and customers looking for needed repairs, it was time to grow again, said LaVornia. "It took eight years, but just a few months ago we added a state-of-the-art repair facility to handle all the work."

He shows off the eight clean new service bays added to his original building. There are now 11 bays in all. A business that began with a trio of sales professionals and a mechanic now has 10 full-time employees.

As many of his truck customers have family members with autos, Route 146 Auto Sales now also welcomes customers with autos - all makes and models - to the new repair shop. They also accept trade-ins on any vehicle.

"It's been busy. Everybody likes it, says LaVornia of his modern $400,000 facility. "We've added a Hunter Alignment machine and much, much more new equipment. It takes a lot of money - and great service - to build a good name," said LaVornia. "We're now able to take better care of our growing customer base."

LaVornia, 52, has his daughter, Tara (LaVornia) Perreira, a North Providence resident, managing the office. He began his career at the side of his dad, Anthony, at Baker's Corner Shell in Warwick. After spending some time in Florida, LaVornia returned to Rhode Island in 1990, and worked for area auto dealers including CarMax, where he was regional buyer. He is a North Smithfield resident.

Route 146 Auto Sales opens at 9 a.m. daily, and closes at 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; at 6 p.m. on Fridays; and at 5 p.m. Saturdays. They are closed Sunday. Reach them at 401-762-4200, or online at www.route146autosales.com .