Abba Motors, says owner Steve Brackett, began in 1979 in a little shed across the alley from its current location in Florence. "It was just myself," says Brackett. "Then I added my brother."
Now Abba, tucked in an unlikely corner of a former mill building, has a larger staff and a wide range of expertise in the increasingly complex world of auto repair. "Technology's changed a lot since then," says Brackett. "Problems are just like what's happening with the Toyota acceleration problem—they're elusive, intermittent. That's what it's like to work on cars today."
Brackett and his staff have to stay abreast of constantly changing technology, and what used to be a purely mechanical enterprise has an element much more like the problem-solving that's necessary in IT. "What we did three years ago we don't do today," says Brackett. "We had a '70 Volvo in for a tuneup, and almost nobody except Raoul and I knew what to do. It's changed that much."
As a result, Brackett's staff includes some people who are best at that kind of diagnosis, and others who are best at the mechanical repairs necessary to address that diagnosis. Brackett himself studied computer science at UMass in the '80s, a choice that now seems to have paid off in the world of auto repair.
Abba focuses on import repairs, and their prompt and exceptionally friendly and accessible service has brought them repeat-winner status.