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Non-profit repair shop provides service for single mothers, widows

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - 07:00
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Full disclosure: this shop doesn’t make any money. Not one red cent. Not due to any mismanagement — quite the opposite — but because it’s a non-profit, faith-based endeavor called God’s Garage. 

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At a Glance:
God's Garage
Conroe, TX
Location
1
No. of shops
Chris "PC" Williams
Owner
6
Years in business
3,500
Square footage of shop
$0
Annual gross revenue

Located in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas, it only “repairs vehicles for single mothers, widows and wives of deployed military with no labor costs,” explains Chris “PC” Williams, founder of this philanthropy. “We also give vehicles away to qualified recipients. Through donated cars and parts, we are able to bridge troubled times in so many people’s lives.”

Since no one actually owns the garage, Williams is the president, just as there are no employees but volunteers. “Our group consists of lead technicians through those just learning the automotive trade,” he explains. “I actually started this thing about six years ago, just a group of guys who got together once every couple of months to help people out.” 

Automotive service and assisting those in need have long been linked in Williams’ family, starting with his dad. “My father was a helper,” he says. “We would be all dressed up to go somewhere and if he saw someone stuck on the side of the road, we would pull over and help them out.

Chris “PC” Williams

“My dad was always into cars, motorcycles, boats, basically anything that had a motor and could go fast,” laughs Williams. “He even went to tech school to become a mechanic. He ended up becoming a pastor, but was still wrenching on cars and helping people whenever he could.” 

While Williams eventually followed his father into the ministry as a youth pastor (PC = Pastor Chris), he didn’t pick up his father’s aptitude for mechanics. “I can’t stand working on cars,” he confides. “I wasn’t the best student, but he taught me the basics of car care.”   

His father’s lessons dramatically came together one rainy night when Williams was driving home from church. “I could barely make out in my headlights a couple people walking on the side of the road. I pulled over, and I didn’t know if they’d get in the truck with me, but it turned out it was a lady from my church and her little girl.”

Taking them home, Williams learned that for three months this single mom had been begging or borrowing rides to get to work and church, sometimes even hitchhiking, since her truck was in the shop and she couldn’t afford to pay for it.  

“That night I went home to my wife and I cried,” says Williams. “I told her this can’t happen when I can do something about it. I’ve got friends who’ve got a couple extra dollars, friends who can work on cars; we’ve got to do something, we can’t just let this happen.”

After helping this woman out of her predicament, Williams began calling people in earnest. “I’m a networker and I’ve been blessed to know a lot of people,” he declares. “I just started spreading the word around to my friends, and before you know it we had a dozen guys showing up, and it grew from there.” 

For his part Williams built a small shop on his property, but since there’s no shortage of clientele, the work quickly eclipsed this 40’x40’ facility. “We really needed to go three to four nights a week and I couldn’t do that in my neighborhood,” Williams relates. “I found a 3,500 square foot building with some storage in the back, but it was a pretty large lease so I told the guy I couldn’t do it.”

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