Service Industry

PPR yipes photo 070614
The crew at Yipes Auto Accessories and Graphics (back row left to right) John Ruddy, West Suber, Dwayne Butchino and Jared Gibbons and (front left to right) Jody Helfgott, owner Jack Helfgott and Mary Bizga, moved to a new location at 6 Trade Road in mid-June. The move has dramatically increased the visibility and accessibility of the business. (Rob Fountain/Staff Photo)

Yipes enjoys new location

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — Yipes Auto Accessories and Graphics has moved to a new location that has greatly increased visibility and accessibility. 

Owner Jack Helfgott said the new location at 6 Trade Road is on Route 22 near the intersection of Route 374 and easily accessible from Exit 38 of Interstate 87. About 8,000 vehicles a day pass by the new location, which will become even more visible once he installs new signs.

"We moved in here June 16. It's all coming along very well," he said.

FORMERLY AT SKYWAY

The old location was tucked into a back corner of the Skyway Plaza property and was very difficult to find, even with directions.

The graphics side of the business, which includes automotive as well as store and advertising banners, continues to increase. The new shop features a glass-enclosed work area for the graphics department, where designers can meet with clients, develop the product and then bring it out to the shop for application.

Onyx spray-on bedliners remain a big seller. The new location offered a chance to improve the spray booth used in that process, with better ventilation and easily replaceable ceiling tiles and lighting covers.

Remote car starters continue to sell well even in summer, as people like the ability to have the air conditioning running before they get into their vehicle.

Tonneau covers and rain guards are also popular add-on accessories. Heated seat sales are also going well.

"We can put them in any car," Helfgott said.

The audio display area will soon get a total makeover to make it a more interactive, user-friendly area.

Yipes also offers installation and calibration of ignition interlock devices for SmartStart.

"That business continues to grow," he said.

SPECIALIST SOUGHT

Helfgott said he is looking to hire an experienced window-tint specialist on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The new location is smaller than before, only 4,800 square feet compared to 7,000 at the old store. Helfgott said that gave them a chance to consolidate inventory and clear out some items that were unlikely to be sold.

"It forces us to be more efficient and use our space and time better," he said. "We found we had a lot of things we didn't need."

The shop receives three deliveries a week, so anything that's not in stock can be there within a day or two.

Yipes offers a total team approach. The display area was set up by Mary Bizga, who also handles the phones and cash register. Helfgott said she did a great job, even though she had much less space than before.

Even his family has gotten involved as his wife, Mary, set up the cozy waiting area and his son, Jared Gibbons, is working part-time this summer.

The shop has space for up to four vehicles plus one in the spray-booth. There is plenty of natural lighting, which is important for a business that focuses on getting the details right.

Radiant heating helps keep conditions optimal for auto work and more comfortable for the crew.

BEGAN IN VERMONT

Yipes started in Vermont and eventually grew to locations in Montana, Florida, Massachusetts and New York. The original owner started to close some stores and sell others as the economy softened, and Helfgott was brought aboard to try to turn the Plattsburgh franchise around in 2008.

That led to discussions with the owner about acquiring the business, which he did in July 2010. He credits the staff at the North Country Small Business Development Center with helping with the original acquisition and the transition to this new facility.

Helfgott said that while his territory is mainly Clinton County and parts of Essex and Franklin, he even has one customer who brings his fleet from the Ogdensburg area because of the quality and consistency of Yipes spray-on bedliner applications.

That shows they live up to their motto, "We get the details right at Yipes."

Helfgott said he is active in the community as a member of the Plattsburgh Noon Rotary Club, the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum and the local BNI business support club. 

"Those are great ways to network," he said.

Yipes is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Payment is by cash, check or major credit card — Discover, Visa or MasterCard.

For more information, call 324-9473 or visit www.yipesplattsburgh.com. Helfgott said their Facebook page has also been a valuable resource.

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com

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