By SHERIDAN ROY
Southington is now home to an innovative AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Center, which is the first of its kind in Connecticut. A ribbon cutting ceremony on July 26 officially welcomed the community to the new store, which held a soft opening in December 2018.
“AAA has eight stores in Connecticut, but this is the first one that includes the car care facility,” said manager of public and government affairs Amy Parmenter. “It’s a business model that’s been very successful in other states, and the public seems to embrace it.”
The car care center will treat cars bumper to bumper. AAA also offers free battery, tire and fluid testing. Customers do not need to be AAA members to access the car care center. Parmenter said AAA offers these free testing services to prevent drivers from ending up stuck on the side of the road in need of assistance.
“Southington was a great location to bring this business because it is a very vibrant community from both a commercial sense and a residential sense,” said Parmenter. “People in this town are familiar with AAA services, but now we can offer them additional services in the car care center right in their own community.”
Other services within the Southington AAA include help with travel, insurance, Department of Motor Vehicle services and AAA driving school.
“The dedication of our associates and the embrace of the Southington community is really what’s going to make this car care insurance travel center a great success,” said AAA car care regional manager, Richard Santiago. “We look forward to this location paving the way for even more stores to open in the near future.”
AAA has been in business for 115 years, and began expanding services to include car care about 10 years ago, according to AAA allied group CEO Tom Wiedemann.
“AAA is known for legendary best-in-class road side assistance,” said Wiedemann. “We also stand for peace of mind and that security that you think of when you think about our road side rescue. We decided about a decade ago we wanted to bring that same peace of mind and security to the car care business.”
Wiedemann said it has been a pleasure to work with officials in the town of Southington.
“We are really proud of this place and we want to be active in your community,” he said. “We want to be local, be active, bring jobs, and engage with the community.”
Southington Chamber of Commerce board of directors chair, and vice chair of the town council, Dawn Miceli, said the AAA business recognized the benefits of Southington’s five prominent exists off of I-84. She added the community is fortunate to welcome the business to town.
AAA has a longstanding partnership with the Connecticut DMV, going back 25 years.
“We consider it a valuable partnership,” said DMV chief operating officer James Rio. “All eight locations in Connecticut serve on average 160,000 customers per year. It alleviates some of the crowding in our DMV offices around the state, and provides a service in the communities that we serve in.”
AAA offices can provide the following DMV services: verified and regular driver’s license renewals; verified and regular ID card renewals; duplicate drivers’ licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits; and name changes on drivers licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits.
The AAA office is open for DMV services from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. There is a convenience fee: $6 for AAA members and $8 for non-members.