VENICE — Every car coming into American Import Auto receives a free full digital inspection with necessary photographs taken then emailed to the customer.

Knowing the vehicle status, the owner can make decisions on what may be required. Should the vehicle be requiring the manufacturers service, they will work with those recommendations.

Jeff and Donna Hazeltine, owners, are celebrating the 30th anniversary of American Import Auto at 548 E. Venice Ave. near Bogey’s restaurant.

Today, they look to the future with possible growth as they bring in the right people to build the business to the point where eventually they can enjoy life.

Born in Venice Hospital, he graduated Venice High School having taken a two-year vocational auto technician class.

Initially, he worked for a friend who owned American Import Auto until the owner died unexpectedly.

It was sold and Hazeltine went to local dealerships for work — where he received the Automotive Service excellence award.

Realizing the potential in Venice, he opened a small vehicle servicing facility. He reopened American Import Auto in 1989 with two bays.

Starting from scratch, he gradually acquired equipment to build a third bay. On his own initially, his wife joined him as business administer.

When the original company location came up for sale, he acquired it in 1994, 25 years ago.

Growing successfully within five years, they had three technicians and moved into the new current location.

“We are a full-service provider and I am a master technician,” Hazeltine said. “In 1999 we acquired the city contract for vehicle maintenance, hired a manager and three more technicians who operate in a separate location which we have had for 20 years.”

In the East Venice Avenue building, they employ 10 in addition to those offsite managing the city contract.

Technicians all have factory software and expertise needed for breakdowns, repairs and service for all vehicles, cars, pick-ups. Three diesel specialists handle large contractor trucks.

“We have a courtesy vehicle and will go out to somebody needing help, but for most work a tow-truck service brings it in so we can work on it,” he emphasized. “I am a diagnostic technician, electrical and driver-ability is my concern and we have a fully certified hybrid electric vehicle technician.”

American Import Auto also rebuilds antique cars and service expensive sports cars like Lamborghini. For customer care, they have a very comfortable lounge seating area with coffee, soft drinks and refreshments.

American Import Auto opens weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offer early-bird drop off and an after-hours key pick-up lockbox, call 941-484-1340.

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