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Shop owners relocate from Argentina to join forces with U.S. franchise

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 07:00
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Moving a great distance to set up a new business can be tough. Add that it’s in another country with cultural differences and language barriers — not to mention reversed seasons going from the Southern to Northern Hemisphere — it sounds daunting. But to business partners Mario Gonzalez and Sebastian Pacheco, it was definitely doable, particularly with the help of a franchisor.

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At a Glance:
Mr. Transmission
Tampa, Fla.
Sebastian Pacheco and Mario Gonzalez
No. of shops
Years in business
No. of employees
Square footage of shop
No. of bays

Their story starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when Pacheco had his car serviced at Gonzalez’s shop. “I’ve always loved cars,” says Pacheco. “I used to work on the weekends on my car; for it me it was a hobby at the beginning. Then I met Mario, first as a customer, then as a friend, and I started learning a lot about cars from him.”

For the next five years Pacheco assisted Gonzalez in running the shop in Argentina’s bustling capital, but saw greener pastures in the United States. “In our country we were always going through a difficult economy because of security situations,” he explains, “so we started looking for a place where we could work in a better environment with more possibilities to grow, to have a better life.”

To that end they focused their search on Florida. “We looked first at Miami, where we liked the kind of life,” Pacheco comments. “Then we looked [on the Gulf Coast] at Venice, Tampa and Sarasota.” Meanwhile they also found a franchise fit with Moran Family of Brands, based in Midlothian, Ill.

One of the nation’s leading franchisors of general automotive repair since 1990, this company has assembled a variety of products and services through various brands. Perhaps their best known brand is Mr. Transmission, which is typically paired with Milex Complete Auto Care, covering the rest of the car.

Owners Sebastian Pacheco and Mario Gonzalez

Moran also has two aftermarket service divisions: SmartView Window Solutions, which provides window tinting, and Alta Mere, The Automotive Outfitters. Moran literature describes the latter as “high tech automotive accessories and driver safety products,” such as “security and radar detection systems, remote starters and keyless entry, and hands-free blue tooth phone systems.”

And while these brands are frequently licensed in various combinations, Pacheco and Gonzalez were the first franchisees in Moran’s history to put all four together at one location. There was just one little hitch to that plan …

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