On my husband’s first day of college, the instructors handed out a card and asked everyone to write on it his or her dreams/aspirations. They asked, “why are you here?” and my husband wrote on this card “to own my own auto repair shop and high-performance shop.” That was over 15 years ago, and he still carries that battered up little card around with him in his wallet reminding him of how far he’s come.
Over the years it was always something he would look back on and think about. Last year, after years of planning, we were finally able to make that dream a reality. As for me, I have a background in management and always enjoyed sales, so for me, this was something that I always enjoyed and loved the idea of owning my own business. Together, we were able to use both of our strengths and come together to create Benware Automotive.
We also realized is that women just don't typically feel comfortable in repair shops. If you think of a shop you usually think dark, dirty, smelly, and filled with car magazines. We wanted to create a place that was uniquely different; where everyone, men, woman and children felt comfortable. Yes, you’ll find car magazines here, but you'll also find a lot more.
Our customers tell us it’s the cleanest shop they have ever been to. I guess you can say it has a welcoming feeling. We built a nice restroom with flower arrangements.
While we both knew that we wanted to open our own business, the question of it all became HOW to do it. Having run businesses before, we both had a pretty good understanding of what it takes to operate a business, but we had no idea how to start a business. There was a lot involved, and terms that we had never heard before, and that was truly scary. Then my father in law told us how SCORE helped him years ago when he opened his business. So, we Googled SCORE and the rest is history!
We are over a year old now, with nothing but 5-star reviews across the board on Facebook, google, and Yelp. We have customers calling saying “I was searching for a mechanic and can’t seem to find any negative feedback about you guys online” or “a friend recommended me” or “I saw someone post about how much they love you guys”… That is HUGE to us and means the world! We celebrate so many little successes every day that makes this all worthwhile. We are so happy we took this leap of faith together and actually made this all happen!
We honestly could not have made this happen without SCORE. Charlie Peake was instantly on board and as excited as we were. He asked us great questions and challenged us to think outside the box. We came to our first SCORE meeting having no knowledge of business plans or what’s in them, and with Charlie’s help we were able to produce a business plan and get funding from T.D. Bank (which was near impossible trying to get a bank to back a start-up business with zero business owning experience)! Charlie was in constant communication with us whenever we needed him, day or night, weekends and all. He helped whenever we needed it.
I could write a whole book on why Charlie is amazing and how Score mentors can help and support people’s aspirations.