Customers just like family for Sunil
‘‘If you look after the customer as family, they will look after you as family’’
Sunil Kumar has become a wellloved member of the Te Kauwhata community.
As manager of Te Kauwhata Automotive Services, he can point out all of his customers by name, even before they get out of the car.
He’s only been in the job for about 18 months but the 32-yearold has practically become a local.
The site was purchased by Auckland business owner Manjit Singh and remained as a gas station initially.
Since then, Kumar has been part of transitioning Te Kauwhata’s only petrol station in a one-stop-shop.
It started with bread and milk, then the coffee machine came in.
And it didn’t take long to offer the town some fast food options.
Pizza was brought into the equation and now Kumar is selling up to 70 daily.
It’s become a place where one can fill your car, buy groceries, pizza, coffee and do your washing with the addition of a laundromat.
And soon, there will be the choice of Indian cuisine and fish and chips.
But it seems it’s not just the services which keep people coming back.
Kumar’s made a name for himself with his approach to customer service.
‘‘If you look after the customer as family, they will look after you as family,’’ he said.
He’s always willing to help out locals with IOUs - most of which are paid back.
The front shop windows have also become a notice board of sorts.
With Singh’s addition of weekly inspirational quotes on the forecourt, Kumar said it can brighten up people’s day.
‘‘People are always feeling stressed and working hard.’’
Town residents have proven they care just as much though after the shop was robbed at gunpoint in July last year.
A man entered the station with a pistol and demanded cash.
‘‘It’s a small town so news goes around quickly and everyone supported us.’’
In just this short time, Kumar has come come to the conclusion that leaving the hustle and bustle of Auckland life behind is possibly the best thing he’s ever done.
Growing up in India, he’s always lived in busy town. While it’s taken some getting used to, the town has become his home and it doesn’t appear that will be changing.
Sunil Kumar, Te Kauwhata Automotive Services Ltd.