BRATTLEBORO — Danielle Lacroix, owner and business manager Stop & Go Instant Oil Change LLC, encourages women to apply for jobs.
"Just get in there because you have to keep trying," she said when asked what advice she might have for a female getting into the trade. "Because it's a male-dominated industry."
Lacroix has noticed more applications from women coming across her desk within the last year.
"I don't know if it's me or an industry trend," she said, noting that she has reached out to others in the field in order to find ways to attract more women to work at her business.
Stop & Go has four female employees plus Lacroix's sister, who helps on breaks from college, and another part-time employee who is a woman. Altogether, the business fluctuates between 10 to 12 employees, with a mechanic who works in a separate space from where oil changes are done.
Lacroix said she is always seeking more women but they are difficult to find in the industry. The few she has hired have "very little experience," she said, but most employees at her business start off the same way.
Lacroix described the position of service technician as "a really good entry level job for people." In the long term, she hopes to learn more about mechanical work herself but she said she is so consumed by the rest of the business right now.
Stop & Go has been owned by Lacroix's family since 2007. Lacroix worked there as a bookkeeper from 2013 until April 2018. She mostly handles customer service now but she will help with oil changes from time to time.
"It's fun," she said. "It's enjoyable."
As a former waitress who sees desk jobs as "tiresome," she likes working at a fast pace. The business averages about 40 oil changes a day, taking between 10 to 12 minutes per customer. Service technicians check lights, filters, belts and hoses.
The busiest Lacroix can recall Stop & Go being is somewhere between 70 and 80 oil changes in a day.
"It's fun but it's tiring," she laughed.
Lacroix said she tries to educate customers on the different oils available for their vehicles.
Alexandra Destromp started as a service technician at Stop & Go a little more than a month ago. She hopes to be a "master mechanic" one day.
"I just really like the idea of working on cars," she said, having previously messed around on motorcycles and cars found in junkcards.
Destromp said she has gained a lot of knowledge on the job.
"I'm definitely enjoying it," she said. "I've been shadowing everyone here. So I got a lot of dos and don'ts."
Anne Jedrzejewski, bookkeeper, said she enjoys having gender diversity among the staff. She started the job about a year-and-a-half ago.
Jedrzejewski said she considers it "unusual" to be working in the automobile business but likes working in "a family atmosphere" as she can meet with Lacroix face to face if any issues arise.
Lacroix said she enjoys donating to the Windham County Humane Society and other community causes. One of her favorite things, she said, is knowing people's names and some of their recurring car troubles.
Studies indicate women make 70 percent or more of the consumer decisions in a household. Lacroix said she thinks female customers feel comfortable seeing other women when they get the oil in their vehicles changed.
"I can't tell you how many people have told me they are glad to see more women working here," she said.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.