Lots of people have asked us why we decided to start Okee, and more to the point, what does Okee mean. Well, as its an easier question to answer, I will clear up the last question first... Why Okee?
To be honest it doesn't really mean anything (although we hope it will become synonymous with superior automotive services, trust and driving peace of mind, in the future). When we were brainstorming the company name, we decided early on that we didn't want it to sound like a typical garage. We wanted our garage to stand out from the crowd and the name had to too.
Mark also has a passion for electric and eco cars so we thought... 'why not something ECO'. Then we flipped it around... OCE. The C became a K. And lastly we added an E, simply to try and get a decent website domain name. And that's 'Why OKEE' (NOTE: we are not just specialist in eco/electric cars, and can look after any vehicle).
It's safe to say the name has divided opinion (but then, what great name doesn't?!?). Some love it, some hate it, but one thing I can guarantee... You've said it (or heard it) this week... Okey Dokey! And your're probably saying it right now!
But more importantly... why did we even want to start our own garage.
For me, I hated taking my car to the garage. Any garage! Even the majority of main dealerships fail to give a warm, heartfelt welcome. And small independent garages often feel awkward and threatening if you're not in 'the trade'. I only ever liked taking my car to my nephew, Mark, because I knew I could trust him. But even then, I never knew where to park, I hated sitting in a drab and dirty reception and I couldn't wait to be back on the road again.
For Mark, the ability to offer the customer a higher level of service was his main objective. He was keen to invest in the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment to enable Okee to offer a dealership grade diagnostic services. This means, rather than send our customers to the main dealer when complicated problems arise, we can diagnose and repair here. So the dream was to offer the highest level of service and expertise, in the most friendly and welcoming environment.
So we discussed creating something completely different. Could we create a garage that was actually a positive experience for those that historically hate it? Could we have a nice, relaxing reception with a coffee shop style waiting area, with plenty of parking and a genuinely warm and friendly welcome? We also wanted advice and billing to be really clear, so our clients could have complete trust in our service to them. We saw an opportunity for an independent garage with a superior customer experience, and that's what we hope we have achieved.
So that was the birth of Okee. We are so proud of what we have created. I (Ben) have always said 'if we can create an environment that my wife and child are happy to be in, we've got it right. And thankfully they love it! There is still a long way to go. We've only been open for 5 months in Wellington but word is getting around and our customer list is growing daily. And we've been pleased to receive such a warm welcome and some lovely reviews on Facebook. A huge thank you to everyone who has support us.
Ben Grave, Mark Lawson