Under the hood and in the community

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Laura Weber talks with service advisor Joey Alleruzzo at Clark's Car Care in Naperville. Jane Donahue/For Sun-Times Media/Naperville Sun 20140310 Monday,Naperville

Did you know?

Clark’s Car Care is named after National Lampoon’s fun-loving Chicago dad, Clark Griswold. From the “Vacation” movie photos, Clark’s jersey and movie quotes painted on the wall, the Weber’s shop has a family-like atmosphere.

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When Marilyn Wendell moved to Naperville 11 years ago, she wanted to find a place to take her car for routine maintenance and repairs. She said she found that, and much more, at Clark’s Car Care.

“They take the time to get to know you; their dedication to all levels of customer care, efficiency and problem solving is what makes them superior and unique,” Wendell said. “They always go the extra mile and then some.”

Founded in 2001 by Matt Weber and Laura Weber, Clark’s Car Care is located at the end of Industrial Drive in northwest Naperville. The full service auto repair shop, named after National Lampoon’s fun-loving dad, Clark Griswold, specializes in domestic and Japanese cars and offers a variety of mechanical services.

“When you go to Clark’s, it’s not some off-site parent company that is overruling a franchise or something,” Wendell said. “You see the owners; you know the owners are hands-on. There’s a personal connection there and I think that is so important.”

Co-owner Matt Weber worked at several car dealerships before diving into the role of small business owner. The 41-year-old North Aurora resident said building relationships has always been at the core of their business.

“Our job is to fix cars, but I really don’t believe that,” Weber said. “I believe we are in the people business taking care of their car problem. There is a big difference.”

Laura Weber, who lives in Batavia, said forming relationships is an important part of their business, as is giving back to the community. Whether they are supporting a local nonprofit organization, sponsoring a baseball or swim team, or holding a free seminar for teen drivers, Clark’s is working under the hood and in the community.

“We are in a position where we can help, and I think if you are in that position, you should do something,” Laura said.

Matt agrees.

“You take care of the community, and the community will take care of you,” he said. “And we really enjoy doing it.”

When you think of Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry, auto repair may not come to mind. But for more than a decade, the team at Clark’s has been providing support that allows the nonprofit organization to, in turn, support their clients.

“Clark’s has been a trusted and generous community partner in Loaves & Fishes’ progress for more than a decade,” said Jody Bender, director of community engagement for Loaves & Fishes. “Matt and his team keep our fleet of vehicles well maintained so that our volunteers may operate them safely, and that essential food and grocery supplies are transported to our distribution center daily for our clients. Matt has gone to great lengths
over the years to respond to our needs with outstanding service and support.”

Clark’s also works with local nonprofit Naperville Cares to provide low cost auto repair to qualified drivers so they can get to work. Janet Derrick, Naperville Cares executive director, said building partnerships with “community-minded business people like Matt and Laura” is critical to providing the much needed services they offer.

“This brutal winter has been particularly difficult on the older cars that many of working poor drive to work,” Derrick said. “Naperville Cares relies on Matt and his staff to provide an honest assessment of the cars that we bring to him and he also helps defray some of the costs associated with the repair.”

Laura Weber said the Cares program is “truly about helping others help themselves.”

“Cars for Cares helps people be able to afford to fix their car so they can get to work,” Laura said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone. You are not on an island by yourself and we want to teach our kids that there are people in the community who may need help, and this is what you do. That’s really important to us.”

Those attributes are important to customers like Wendell, too.

“I always want to support local businesses, the mom and pop operations,” said the Naperville resident. “When you go to Clark’s, people know who you are and you see the same people working there. They know the community. This is a fantastic local business that I support with all my heart.”

To learn more about Clark’s Car Care, visit www.clarkscarcare.com