It doesn’t take much to get Karen Tuttle to agree to traveling abroad and form friendships with people from all cultures and backgrounds. Her role in non-profit Christian ministry traveling all over the world is a perfect fit for her. In fact, that is how I met Karen and have remained good friends with her for the past 15 years.

Coming from a family who all works for the same non-profit, and being in non-profit work herself, Karen is pretty thrifty when it comes to most things in life – especially her car. She did her research, and when she came upon the ‘05 Elantra on Craigslist while she was living in Indianapolis, she quickly figured out that this particular vehicle was known to be rather low maintenance. She met the owner and could tell they’d taken good care of it and learned they just needed something better suited to the size of their growing family. 

“It’s been a great car,” she says, “I love that it’s a hatchback because I have moved several times. Also, I haven’t had any major issues crop up.” In fact, we don’t see Karen very much at the shop aside from maintenance. She says “Over the years there have been minimal times when I’ve had to bring it in for a non-maintenance issue,” which is as good as it gets for an older vehicle. It’s no wonder, then, that when she’s not on an airplane going to and fro foreign lands, she’s zipping around town in her 2005 Hyundai Elantra to visit friends homes or meeting up at a favorite coffee joint or eatery. 

I call her a foodie, though she says that sounds too pretentious. Well, I guess I’m a bit pretentious because I would consider myself a bit of a foodie, which is another reason I like hanging out with Karen. I might add that I spent some time travelling with Karen. She’s definitely a person who enjoys the experience of the journey, while I just want to get to the destination. I guess this explains why Karen likes driving around to meet up with friends and I not a huge fan of driving, so I just wait for her to come to my house. We usually end up creating a delicious meal together and share life’s most recent anecdotes.

It’s quite obvious, then what initially brought her to Marinelli Auto Service – she was a bridesmaid in our wedding after all – but we’ve been very clear with her that we wouldn’t be offended if she had another shop that she trusted. She responded, “But I want to bring it to you guys!”

“I haven’t had great experiences with other independent mechanics,” she explains. “As a single woman, I’ve felt condescended to. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I try to be wise and educated. I appreciate that Andrew gives it to me straight and I don’t feel like he’s changing his communication because I’m a single female. I appreciate having people I can trust.”

Sadly, I can relate to her experience. Before meeting Andrew, going to a repair shop as a single woman was an aggravating experience. 

She adds, “Andrew communicates well and in a way that I can understand, so I have learned more about my car.”

Even though she’s on a thrifty budget, Karen still feels like she’s getting a good deal when she comes to us. “I know that you all have talked about how you don’t give the discounts because you are already serving us at the best price that you can,” she relates. “Having good long-term reliable service is worth more to me than getting it cheaper. I would rather pay more for a car that is going to keep running well and have a trustworthy mechanic. I don’t have to worry about if I’m being treated well. For example, you are always willing to work with my schedule, when I’m out of the country and when I’m home. When I lived out of the state for a couple years because of a temporary work relocation, I really missed the Marinellis because I couldn’t find someone I could trust to work on my car.”

When she got back into town after her relocation, one of the first things Karen did was bring in her car for a comprehensive Inspection. “I was hoping to get several more years out of my car and the detailed results of the inspection allowed me to see that what I need in maintenance and repairs is worth keeping the car for a while longer,” she shared. 

We’re glad that Karen has been back in Orlando, not just for her business or the fact that she loves referring her friends and co-workers to us, but because she is truly a joy to serve. Plus, she’s a great friend and it feels so good to help friends. 

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