SOUTHINGTON - The Southington Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon on the first AAA in Connecticut to feature an auto repair shop – bringing with it 26 employees including several from the former Plainville AAA.
The 11,000-square-foot AAA at 755 Queen St. was built from the ground up. AAA Spokesperson Amy Parmenter said that there are eight AAA stores in Connecticut which have travel agencies, insurance and the DMV inside but this is the first with auto care.
“It’s a one-stop-shop for all of your car and travel needs,” she said.
The ribbon cutting was attended by Chamber of Commerce, Department of Motor Vehicles and AAA officials. Parmenter said that the new location, which had its soft opening in December, will be a model for other stores in Connecticut. However, similar types of AAA locations have been built in other states.
“They have been enthusiastically embraced by various communities, so we wanted to bring it to Connecticut,” she said. “It has been a group effort with the town and chamber and we’re very grateful for the support.”
After a pipe burst and flooding in the AAA office in Plainville in January 2018, several employees from that former location have also been moved to the new building in Southington.
Parmenter noted that those who stop in to AAA can get a coupon for $50 off any car care of $150 or more. Different deals will be offered each month. AAA is also offering free bumper to bumper inspections.
“This is a busy season for travel and we’re responding to thousands of calls in greater Hartford,” she said. “It’s better to come in and get things taken care of with us here than to have us pick you and your family up on the side of the road.”
Dawn Miceli, a town councilor and chair of the Southington Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, said that the new AAA building is “stunning.”
“The chamber had a board meeting here in February or March and the first thing we noticed was how sparkling clean and fresh it is,” she said. “No offense to the normal DMV offices, but the one here moves very quickly and is very customer friendly. The town of Southington is so fortunate to have AAA come here. With five exits onto the highway, Southington is where everyone wants to be right now.”
Miceli joked that town residents prefer not to leave Southington and now they wouldn’t have to for auto care. She wished AAA “Godspeed and great fortune” and gave them a Southington Chamber of Commerce plaque and window decals to display.
Rick Santiago, car care district director in Connecticut and New Jersey, said he is excited to expand AAA’s offerings in Connecticut and Southington.
“With the dedication of our executives and the support of the community we will hopefully have many more locations like this one in Connecticut,” he said.
Tom Wiedemann, CEO of AAA, said that AAA has been known for “best in class” roadside assistance for 150 years. A decade ago, he said, AAA started offering auto care in some locations.
“We wanted to bring that same sense of security and peace of mind to those going for auto repairs,” he said.
Wiedemann said that AAA knows it is important to work closely with local communities.
“We want to be active and engaged in the local community and bring in jobs,” he said. “You can count on that from AAA.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.