The 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards were announced last week, and readers selected Jiffy Lube as Best Oil Change Shop in St. Albert.
“It’s great. I’m very pleased to be recognized for all our efforts,” said owner-manager Cory Novosel. Jiffy Lube was also signalled out in 2022.
The top-producing shop, nestled on St. Albert Trail’s west side, is well-known to daily commuters for its witty billboard quips and life-size pop-up decorations grabbing people’s attention during holiday festivities and Oiler games.
“My first Halloween, I just about caused a dozen accidents. I had ghouls sitting by the roadside and people were not used to seeing them,” said Novosel with his light-hearted banter.
Although he enjoys kidding around and stretching his creative side, Novosel is serious about running a top-notch business.
“I just want to provide good, honest, reliable service. I want to build long-term relationships with people and that they trust me – that the service matches up with the price. And that if ever there is an issue, they can come back and talk about it and find a solution.”
Nine employees work at the shop’s three bays providing first-come, first-serve oil changes, drive line services, transmission services, air filter and cabin filter changes, power steering fluid, wiper blade and light bulb exchanges. In 2022, about 13,000 oil changes were performed.
Cars, trucks and motor homes have passed through the doors.
“We service a lot of Corvettes and we specialize in European cars. I pride myself on keeping a lot of stock for European cars.”
Novosel took ownership of Jiffy Lube St. Albert five years ago previously branded as Mr. Lube. Although his family operated Mr. Lube in Edmonton, the first, fast-oil change service in Canada, Novosel didn’t immediately follow in his father’s footsteps. He had a “bucket list” of things he wanted to experience first.
A 1990 graduate from Sherwood Park’s Bev Facey High School, Novosel switched gears to work in the hospitality industry as a server and bartender for more than a decade. He cut his teeth at Earls and Turtle Creek before working at the high-end Jasper Park Lodge.
“I even worked at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino. That’s where Hollywood celebrities go. I even bounced from working in Tofino in the summer to Whistler in the winter, but it was always fine dining. I thought if I was going to carry a plate, it would be expensive. I love fine dining. It’s great exposure to people, wind and food.”
Somewhere in between, he worked at several Kelowna wineries including Summerhill, Mission Hill and Cedar Creek. And his international exploits took him to Australia’s hospitality industry for seven months and a one-year stint in China studying martial arts.
“I liked the discipline and the spiritual aspects of martial arts. It wasn’t about fighting. It was about learning a decent practice for good health.”
But by 2008, Novosel burned out from the service industry’s rigours and returned home as an employee at his parent’s Jiffy Lube location at 111th Avenue and 153 Street. Despite not having formal training as an automotive technician, he believes his people skills and previous job experiences have set him up as a successful shop owner.
“You’re still dealing with the public and you’re providing a service. And Dad taught me mechanical skills. Before that I just knew where the hood latch was. But after I did it for a while, I grew to like it. I like learning something new and I get the opportunity to help people. I can be of service to the community. It’s not all about the almighty dollar.”
His biggest challenge as a businessman is finding qualified staff.
“It’s hard to find people, train people and keep them. For many people this is a transitional job. Some people stay a year. Some people stay a long time.”
But Novosel is quick to praise his staff who daily help build the business and elevate it to his standards.
“Without them I wouldn’t be here. And I want to thank my customers for their business and for giving us an opportunity. If you’ve never been here, give it a try. I think we’re a cut above.”