No summer slump, economic slowdown seen at Sanibel Shell
During the long, hot summer months on Sanibel, life goes on… but at a slower pace. That’s not necessarily true for Sanibel Shell, whose business remained steady throughout the traditional “off-season.”
So, how do they do it? According to owner Ken Kasten, credit three philosophies:
Quick and efficient customer service
Reliable work at a reasonable price
Let your reputation speak for itself
“We’ve been here over 14 years,” said Kasten. “When somebody is hired on here, we tell them when it’s slow they should take it easy. But when somebody pulls in to our station, even if it’s just to get directions somewhere, we should be friendly and offer the most detailed directions possible. Be nice and smile.”
Kasten, whose grandfather operated a combination parking garage/automobile repair business in New Jersey, readily admits that racing is “in my blood.” He raced go-carts and motocross in his youth; these days, he still serves as pit crew leader for Brian Healy (of Sanibel Wellness), currently active in the local racecar circuit.
The love for racing also extends to his family. Both of his children, Gregory, 19, and Emily, 17, have expressed an interest in following in their dad’s footsteps in the automobile industry.
“I told my daughter to study engineering (at Edison State College) because that’s how she’ll learn how engines really work,” he said. “She wants to become the next Danica Patrick.”
Kasten is also one of the forces behind Sea Phantom, a high speed, aerodynamically-advanced racing vessel co-designed by David Borman of Fort Myers Beach. Both men hope the futuristic-looking speedboat will catch on with both professional and recreational boaters who are looking to enjoy luxury, high-speed yachting at an affordable price.
But on land, Kasten’s life is devoted to his customers and co-workers at Sanibel Shell. He calls his two full-time mechanics – Mick Brandon and Nick Robweiler – “world class craftsmen.” He also praised Adil Lagmiri, who operates Master Automotive Detail, Inc., for the work he performs at the service station, located at 2435 Periwinkle Way.
“I’ve never seen a detailer that can take a car ruined by the Florida sun and make it look like it just drove off the showroom floor,” Kasten added.
His customers appear to agree fully with the Sanibel Shell philosophy.
“I personally visit Sanibel Shell for all my automotive needs because of its fair, reasonable prices and trustworthy staff,” said Dan Budd, owner of Wildseed Construction.
“They’re the best,” added Samantha Price, who brought her car in for a tire repair and an oil change. “They’ve have great customer service and they care about doing a great job for you.”
For more information, stop by Sanibel Shell or call 472-2012.