Hubbard Woods Motors History
Professional Volvo, Saab, Audi, VW and Mini Cooper Service
Hubbard Woods Motors is celebrating its Golden Anniversary. Fifty years of service excellence!
The success of our business, over the last 5 decades, could not have been possible without a staff of loyal employees dedicated to customer satisfaction. 5 of our 10 employees have been with the company 20-25 years.
Back in 1961, Bob Berger took a big chance, hoping it would pay off. He leased a run-down Phillips 66 gasoline station off a busy road in Winnetka and christened it Hubbard Woods Motors. The location was a double-edged sword. It was a high-visibility spot, but it was located within two miles of 14 competitors. Berger had his work cut out for him.
He spent the next year working on any vehicle that rolled into his fledgling shop. He developed a knack for working on VW Beetles, and began to gain a reputation as a Beetle specialist. By 1965, his shop was busy round-the-clock and he had hired three factory-trained import car technicians.
In 1966, Berger relocated Hubbard Woods Motors (and all his customers) to a more modern facility at 985 Greenbay Road, where it remains to this day. Against the objections of his landlord (an oil company), two years later Berger installed one of the country’s first automated roll-over car washes. It proved to be a wise business decision: his gas and repair businesses both boomed.
1970s and 1980s: A Shift from Domestic to Independent European Auto Maintenance and Repair
Over the next 5 years, Berger began to see more imports, specifically Volvos, driving into his service bays. He appreciated these well-built cars so much that he decided to specialize in them exclusively. In 1974, Berger phased out his work on domestic cars because his Volvo business had grown so extensively. He added a fifth service bay to meet demand. By then, he had 15 factory trained import car technicians on the payroll.
In the late 1970s, Berger closed the car wash so he could expand his service area. In 1983, he purchased the property from the oil company he had been leasing it from. In 1984 he built an addition that nearly doubled the size of the shop. He added body-shop services and removed the gas pumps.
With Volvo business continuing to come his way, he closed the body shop in 1995 so he could meet the unending demand for Volvo technical service. His reputation had spread as a Volvo expert, and customers came from as far away as Rockford to have their imports serviced at Hubbard Woods Motors.
Over the next decade, Berger continued to refine his European car service and repair business to increase efficiency and customer service. He added state-of-the-art computerized service information and record keeping, and took steps to ensure he and his technicians had access to the most up-to-date technology upgrades.
In 2008, Motor Age magazine named Hubbard Woods Motors one of the top 10 shops in the country. Clearly, Berger’s big gamble back in 1961 had paid off.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Berger continued to innovate and upgrade. In 2009, he added Mini Cooper service to his offerings. In 2011, he celebrated a huge milestone: the shop’s Golden Anniversary marking 50 years in business! (Five of the shop's current employees have been with the company for at least 20 of those years.) In 2014, Hubbard Woods Motors unveiled a new state-of-the-art wheel alignment system and joined the Motorist Assurance Program, which advocates for ethics in the auto-repair industry.
What does the next 50 years hold in store for Hubbard Woods Motors? Time will tell. One thing is certain though, Berger’s legacy for excellence will live on.