While Tony Catapano is not running this year's Business of the Year with his brother, Walt, and company manager, Dmitry Tananykin, he's taking a break to share his story with North Branford Patch and the secret behind one of the town's finest businesses.
North Branford Patch: How long has been operating in North Branford?
Tony Catapano: We moved here in 1994 from New Haven.
North Branford Patch: Why did you decide to move to North Branford?
Catapano: The location’s great, we’re on right on Route 80. Also, we grew up in Guilford so it brought us a little closer to home.
North Branford Patch: What’s the best part of your job?
Catapano: Basically it’s just the every day meetings with people. It’s just what we do, we fix cars and it’s what we’ve done all our lives.
North Branford Patch: How did you get involved in the car repair business?
Catapano: Our father was in the industry in New Haven, so naturally we were drawn to it by our family roots. My first car was a 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
North Branford Patch: What do you do for fun in your spare time?
Catapano: I spend a lot of time in Las Vegas, actually. I’m also involved in Special Olympics and we do a lot of things in the community–we sponsor a lot of teams. We don’t advertise in the paper, instead, we support Little League and basketball. We use our money in the community. My brother, Walter Catapano, spends a lot of time with his family and going to his kids’ games.
North Branford Patch: If you could convey just one thing to returning and potential customers, what would it be?
Catapano: We’ll always try to do what is best for them and their needs in every situation. We try to do what’s best in each individual case. That’s probably one of the reasons we’re very busy.
North Branford Patch: What makes Walt’s Auto unique?
Catapano: We are really involved in the community, plus we’re first responders–we have tow trucks, we’ll come if you lock your kid in your car, or God forbid, you’re in an accident. We try to have a friendly attitude when people come in here and we’re understanding because we know we don’t always meet customers under the best conditions. It’s usually a turbulent time in their life and we try to help them through that process because it is a process. We help them deal with the insurance companies.
Visit the official Walt's Auto Repair website for before and after pictures of body work as well information on services and hours of operation.