Frustrated customer opens her own auto shop

Emily Chung operates AutoNiche, a garage that caters to women car owner/operators. (Emily-Chung)

Fed up and tired of being ripped off when she took her car to be serviced, Emily Chung decided to do something about it.

A Centennial College and University of Waterloo graduate, she opened her own garage catering to women.

“I wasn’t in the trade at all,” she said. “I got really frustrated.”The idea was sparked while Chung was attending Centennial College’s Automotive Service Technician course.

“At the time I wasn’t thinking about opening anything,” she said. “I just wanted to learn more about my car.”

After speaking to friends and people in the industry, she learned that a lot of people felt frustrated trying to find a reputable mechanic.

“I didn’t want to open up just another auto repair shop,” Chung said.

Finally in the spring of 2009, Chung opened up AutoNiche in Markham.

“I wanted the location to be in Markham because that’s where I’m from,” she said. “I wanted something in my community.”

While her shop caters to women, she admits most of her clients are men; but women are regular customers too.

“Women are not blindly trusting us because we were founded by a women,” Chung said, “but because we do well with the big and small repairs.”

For regular customer, Cindy Chow said that AutoNiche is a refreshing change from other automotive shops in the area.

After experiencing problems at her previous garage, three years ago she switched to AutoNiche.

According to AutoNiche’s website,its goal is to empower people and inform them that an automobile is not a “big scary hunk of metal.”

“It’s not about gender,” Chung said. “We don’t stereotype men just because they are a guy so they should know everything about a car.”

AutoNiche also puts on a clinic once every month called Girls Night at the Garage, a program that teaches women the basics of car care.