Q&A With #DECAgems Nominee Sunny’s Auto Clinic

The #DECAgems team has been a lucky group over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing incoming nominations, and as a result, we’ve stashed away some great tips on where to go for what in our neighborhood.

The only thing we love more than getting the lowdown on everyone’s favourite spots is sharing those suggestions with you! So in the final week of nominations, we’re sharing the scoop on some of the popular nominees. (If you want to see who’s being nominated, follow us on Twitter @decadiaries (#DECAgems) or Facebook.)

Sunny’s Auto Clinic at 2404 Danforth Avenue was an early nominee and has had a few advocates. Katrina says, “Every time I bring my van in I get information I feel I can trust and that’s such a relief! I would recommend him to anyone looking for a great mechanic.”

Sunny's Auto
Owner/operator Sunny Gafur is grateful for the support the neighborhood has shown for his services. We chatted with him about the story behind Sunny’s and here’s what he had to say:

Why did you decide to open the shop? 
Ever since I was a kid I wanted my own business. After working for a few years in the trade, I began to see why people had a bad perception of auto shops and mechanics, and I knew I wanted to do things differently. I set personal goals of becoming a licensed technician and starting my own business by the time I was 25 years old. I worked very hard to earn my certificate of qualification in three and half years (as opposed to the five that it normally takes). After working for a few years as a licensed mechanic, I started to look for a shop to rent. The landlords at this site, Vincenzo and his daughter Mary, knew I was starting out on my own. They took a chance on me and rented the shop to me at a great rate. The first year was tough, but the neighbourhood embraced me as a young entrepreneur and gave me a chance. This year I am proud to say that we are celebrating our sixth anniversary.

How have you seen the neighborhood change? 
When I first started, most of my clients were older families. Now it’s mostly young families. I’ve seen some businesses close, and some new and exciting ones open, including a planned car wash next to my shop. A new condo is going up across the street. I think all these changes are for the good!

Can you tell us a crazy customer story? 
I have the best customers. I recently welcomed my fist child into the world (in the middle of the fall tire season!), and was completely overwhelmed by all the crazy support, advice and beautiful cards and gifts that my customers gave to me.

What brought you to Danforth East?
My family moved to Canada from Bangladesh in 1993. We’ve lived in the east end of the city since 1994 and I live here still. When I first opened the shop, I lived at Woodbine and Gerrard and really wanted to stay close to home.

What would you do with a makeover? 
I would redo the shop’s signs, add lighting to the sign and the parking lot, paint a mural on the side of the trailer that represents the community and the shop’s place in it and get updated photos for the website and Yelp listing.

Why you and not the other guy? 
I would be honoured to win because I am proud to provide a service to this great neighbourhood and it would be wonderful to have that recognized.

We’re down to the last few days to nominate your favorite #DECAgems. You have until this Thursday, May 7th to get your word in here, on Twitter @decadiaries (#DECAgems) or by emailing us at DECAgems@gmail.com.
by guest blogger Razili Datta

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