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emissions inspection stations

When Linda Van Dover took over operation of an independent muffler shop in Lawrenceville, Ga., in 1982, she knew little about business management and even less about the exhaust business. Sixteen years later, she presides over Mighty Muffler Auto Repair & Brakes operation, consisting of six stores in the Atlanta area that employ about 30 people.

While Linda and her husband Joe were living in California, they became silent partners with Joe’s sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Norma Lindsey, in a Midas shop in Athens, Ga., and three independent muffler shops in the Atlanta area. When Norman eventually decided to leave Georgia to pursue other opportunities with Midas, the Van Dovers acquired the Lawrenceville Mighty Muffler, a two-bay shop in a former Texaco station with an outside lift.

They moved to the Atlanta area in 1979 and Linda actually took over operation of the muffler shop in 1982. Until then she had been a housewife, “and then I became this person who had to go to work every day, and worked on Saturdays while everybody else was home, including my husband. He was baby-sitting with the two children and I was working on Saturdays.”

Joe is a sales representative for a manufacturer of steel buildings. In 1983, the Van Dovers bought a shop in Decatur that had been sold recently and was failing. Their next acquisition was an empty Union 76 station that had been converted to a convenience store. About the same time, they bought another muffler shop that was for sale after a bank foreclosure.

The Mighty Muffler operation now consists of a shop on Campbellton Road in Atlanta, two in Decatur and then one in Conyers and another in Lawrenceville. The Conyers location, which opened in 1996, is the first of Linda’s shops to open in a new building. Conyers, a southeast suburb of Atlanta, is also home to Mighty Mufflers’ headquarters. Her headquarters staff includes office manager, Judy Denney, and her brother Frank Rivas, who has been managing the shop on Campbellton Road for 25 years. The shop in Lawrenceville is managed by Linda’s sister-in-law, Kathy.

auto engine diagnostics

Mighty Muffler locations offer custom exhaust services, brake and front-end service, and much more. Georgia started an emissions-inspection program in the 13-county Atlanta metropolitan area in October of 1996. The program includes an ASM (Accelerated Simulation Mode) test for vehicles seven or more years old.

“We have been very much involved with the emissions program, and we were one of the first ones in the program,” Linda said. “All my stores are involved in emissions testing, and that’s been a good shot in the arm for all of them.”

The ASM program is still being implemented, and not all the bugs have been worked out of the system yet, she notes. Equipment required for ASM testing includes a dynamometer and an exhaust-gas analyzer. The system in Mighty Muffler’s headquarters in connected with all the stores.

When Linda took over the Lawrenceville shop in 1982, the difficulties she encountered because of her lack of business experience were compounded by the fact that the all-male staff was slow to accept a woman owner, she noted. “I’ve learned a lot through all these years that I’ve worked with people. I’ve had to learn people skills, and I’m still learning today.”

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Mighty Muffler Auto Repair Center
2435 Wall St. Suite 104, Conyers, GA 30013
770-922-8369

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Contact Information

Mighty Muffler Auto Repair Center

Mighty Muffler

We’ll Beat Any Written Estimate!


Conyers
1122 Northlake Dr. SE Hwy 138
Conyers, GA 30013

Phone: 770-922-9666


Lawrenceville
678 East Crogan St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Phone: 770-962-0641


Atlanta
2880 Campbellton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30311

Phone: 404-344-3730


Decatur- Candler Rd.
2050 Candler Rd.
Decatur, GA 30032

Phone: 404-288-8800


Decatur – Memorial Dr.
3334 Memorial Dr.
Decatur, GA 30032

Phone: 404-288-6200

 

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