SOUTHINGTON — Employees saw a steady stream of customers this past week with the opening of a new AAA travel center, DMV express and car care building on Queen Street.
Offering several services for motorists under one roof is a new model for Connecticut, although AAA has such centers in other states.
Karen Christiana, Northeast general manager, said that people have been coming in since last Monday. The center’s location and accessibility will likely draw a lot of motorists.
“We’re in a great location here,” Christiana said. “We’re going to be very busy in this store.”
The location has traditional AAA services, such as travel planning and insurance. In addition, the location has Department of Motor Vehicles express service, which allows customers to renew their licenses and other identification. Unique to the state is the inclusion of an eight-bay garage for car repair. A bay for larger, commercial vehicles was also built.
“We’ve learned through New Jersey and Pennsylvania that there was a need for this,” Christiana said.
The garage bays are visible through large glass windows from the center’s waiting area. Services include tune-ups, air conditioning and cooling systems, battery replacements, electrical work, diagnostics and brake repairs.
“Many people are keeping their vehicles longer, thus making vehicle maintenance more critical than ever,” said Randy Saly, car care facility manager in Southington. “AAA wants to ensure that reliable, trustworthy repair services are always available to motorists.”
The AAA building is the latest in a burst of economic activity in that area of Queen Street on properties owned by local developer John Senese.
He’s built a grocery store, restaurants and an urgent care center on land that used to be a factory, a small restaurant and some houses.
AAA services and employees in Plainville were moved from there to the new Southington location.