Sherman race car owner opens New Milford auto repair shop
NEW MILFORD — Alex Thomson has been a car guy from his earliest memories.
As a child, he played with Match Box cars and spent time at the home of his neighbor, Bob Devine, who had a race car. There, he learned a lot about cars.
His love of automobiles led to a 30-year career in the auto industry, and now the 20-year Sherman resident opened his own business, Toyota Performance Center last month.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” Thomson said, noting in years past he was a bit nervous to take the jump into business ownership.
But earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic began and his employer closed for eight weeks, he had time to “sit home and think” about what it would be like to open his own shop.
After looking for a location in New Milford, he found “the right fit” at 453 Danbury Road (Route 7 South).
“His work is spot on,” said Rich Devine, of Sherman, who has known Thomson for 34 years and has hired him as his mechanic since he first got a car.
“Besides the fact he is the most knowledgeable Toyota mechanic you will come across, he will not perform work your car does not need — those unnecessary repairs — avoiding high costly repairs,” Devine said. “Folks like that are hard to come by as everyone is trying to maximize revenue.”
TPC specializes in Toyota and Lexus vehicles and features all the latest technology to address vehicle needs, just like the dealerships. Thomson can also work on other vehicles and light trucks.
“I’m a mechanic,” he said. “I can basically work on anything.”
Some might think opening a business in the middle of a pandemic might be unusual, but Thomson said he believes now is the time to reinvent the auto repair industry and how cars are maintained.
The goal of TPC is to provide a concierge service for all its customers that the larger shops can’t provide, he said.
The business offers personalized service; Thomson can pick up a vehicle at one’s home or job, work on it and return the vehicle.
“The customer will never have to leave their house or worry about anything done to their car,” said Thomson, who graduated with an associate’s degree in a Toyota sponsored T-TEN program and is a Toyota master tech.
Services include regular maintenance of vehicles, maintenance plans based on a manufacturer’s recommendations for new and used cars and mobile repair for smaller jobs, and on-site battery changes/installation.
“If you want to do something different to your car, like accessories, performance enhancements, any factory or aftermarket modifications, that can be done by TPC, too,” he said.
The shop can also help with arrangements for any other needs of a vehicle, including detailing, emissions, warranty work, body work and windshields.
“If you have an idea and nobody makes what you want to do to your car, TPC can build it,” said Thomson, who is also an ASE master tech and fully hybrid certified.
“If you can dream it, we can come up with the resources to get it done,” he said.
Another service TPC will provide is a review of used cars. Residents who want to buy a used car but want someone experience to look at it can call Thomson.
“So many people buy used cars that are not the greatest,” he said. “If you buy one for $15,000 to $20,000, it’s probably not bad idea to have someone with experience look over the car. ... It’s protection for them.”
Woody Fickett, of Sherman, who previously owned an auto shop, has known Thomson for many years and called upon him when he needed mechanical help at his business.
“He’s a genius,” Fickett said of Thomson’s skills. “... And you couldn’t ask for a more honest, sincere person whose very talented.”
Having worked for several dealerships over the years, including Toyota in Bantam, Thomson knows the ins and outs of the industry and has a network of auto connections.
He describes himself as having been taught by an “old-school mechanic whose emphasis was if you took something apart and figured out how it worked, you could fix anything.”
When he is not working, Thomson builds and maintains race cars that compete at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York. He has been doing that for almost 40 years, experience that helped forge his passion for autos and building and fixing almost anything.
When Bob Devine, a race car driver who raced the #24, stopped racing in 2002-03, Thomson took over as owner and kept the car going. Today, the same car, now known as #42, is driven by Kyle Sheldon.
For more information about the Toyota Performance, located at 453 Danbury Road, Suite 3, New Milford, call (203) 448-8308, visit www.tpcrepairs.com or find the business on Facebook.