Most independent shops start out as a vision of being your own boss, of building success on your own accomplishments. David Estes realized this through an unusual route: He bought a shop on Craigslist.
For at least four generations, members of Matt Purselle’s family have been entrepreneurs in various endeavors, from manufacturing to retail. So it was only natural that Purselle bought a struggling three-bay import repair shop in Decatur, Ga., and turned it into one of the area’s leading Mercedes-Benz facilities.
John Crowder has a tendency to dive into things; he certainly took the bull by the horns upon entering the auto repair industry. One caveat -- he had a background in that in 1970 his father bought out Bradham Automotive, and Crowder was raised around this institution of Alexandria, Va.
In the history of Top Shop submissions, rarely if ever will you find a restoration/custom shop in the running. This didn’t stop Stephen and Denise Ramsey from putting Ramsey’s Rods and Restoration into the hat, since they have a unique niche market backed up by a strong operational philosophy.
Brothers Scott and Sean Webster worked as technicians for Network Alignment and Brakes in the San Tan Valley region of Arizona when it was a sister company of a national tire retailer (hence the Network name). In 1995, when the tire company decided to divest itself of this shop, the Websters partnered with their father, Carl Sikes, to help capitalize a buyout.
There must be something about Cary, N.C., beyond its location in the state’s famed research triangle, its massive growth in the new millennium and its incredibly low crime rate. It also must have some of the best automotive repair facilities in the country.
When you have employees with a good work-life balance, things around the shop are easier. Dana TePoel discovered that and has made it his goal to train employees at his shop, Lake Arbor Automotive and Truck, in areas outside of automotive repair to ensure that balance is found.
The staff at George’s Sierra Shell collectively increased sales, upped its marketing budget and reach, tried a new community project, exceeded training goals, learned more than technical knowledge and more, as it climbed into the overall winner’s place in the 2014 Top Shops Contest.
Opening one repair shop can be intimidating. Going from one location to two is even bigger. In some ways, growing the number of locations is kind of like being a parent – you don’t know what to expect. So says Jeff Matt, owner of Victory Auto Service and Glass.
In business since 1975 with a pattern of steady expansion throughout Northeast Ohio, Andy and Elissa Fiffick’s Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Centers has netted Motor Age Top Shop honors for five years in a row.
As a Motor Age Top Shop, his award-winning Avalon Motorsports rivals dealership quality for its professionalism, customer service and overall excellence in keeping German-engineered vehicles on the road and running at peak performance.
With a company motto of “Where Customers Become Friends,” the dynamic ownership trio of Jose’ Bueso, Lee Forman and Dwayne Myers has conveyed their commitment to providing their personal – and personable – best in delivering full-service maintenance and repairs to make Dynamic Automotive a Motor Age Top Shop.
As you can well imagine, Mechanicsburg, Pa., has a rich history of repair, ever since the early 1800s when wagon mechanics plied their trade along the old ferry road. Ffor Judy Zimmerman Walter, this history is far more personal. She claims that her career in the repair industry started at birth.
It was curious; lots of facts and figures are tabulated for these profiles, but in listing the number of customer vehicles they get per week, one shop had added a subcategory called “Interlock clients.” They helped make Haglin Automotive a Top Shop in 2014.
What does it take to be proactive? To act on an idea. Like the notion Reed Galloway and Mike Wright had that there had to be a better way of treating customers than the disconnect they witnessed at the dealership they worked for.
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