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An Auto Repair Shop Gets a Green Makeover

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A car mechanic’s shop tends to be heavy on greasy residue and testosterone fumes. So Luscious Garage, in downtown San Francisco, is a breath of fresh air in every sense: spotless surfaces, leafy green plants, sunshine pouring through skylights in the double-height ceilings. If she’s not under the hood of a customer’s Prius, owner and lead technician Carolyn Coquillette will greet you up front — as she has since 2007, when Luscious Garage became the first shop in the country to specialize exclusively in hybrid cars.

Coquillette, 32, isn’t a born-and-bred gearhead. A physics and English major at the University of Michigan, she wandered between teaching jobs and nonprofit work after graduating in 2000. She also took a night course in auto repair. “Learning a trade and working with my hands was like a mental oil change,” she says. “It was tangible and gratifying.”

Luscious Garage relies on solar energy and filtered rainwater and is 100 percent paper-free (Coquillette’s team designed software to manage customer accounts online). “There’s this idea that getting your car fixed has to be a crummy experience,” she says. “So why not imagine a place that’s very green, very tech-savvy, but also pleasant?”