If you’d asked shop owner Chris Probst if she ever thought she’d be a shop owner, her answer would’ve been a resounding, “No way!” But 18 years ago, Chris and her husband, Bill, decided to buy the shop that Bill had worked at for the past 28 years. And now, business is thriving.
However, their small shop wasn’t always as successful as it is now. For quite some time, Chris and her husband found themselves spending the majority of their time just trying to keep the shop afloat every month. They were missing out on quality family time and constantly stressing over financials.
Finally, Chris and Bill decided to turn to DRIVE, which helped them grow their business significantly. Plus, DRIVE gave them the training and knowledge to become leaders in their own shop.
“Since working with DRIVE, my creativity has been abundant, and I continue to learn everyday how to be a better leader and business owner,” Chris says.
Chris now feels comfortable enough to stand in front of her team and communicate new ideas and thoughts. She believes that shops only get out of DRIVE what they’re willing to put in, and that it’s important to trust the advice of others and take risks in order to overcome what seems like the impossible. Chris and Bill stand by the great Henry Ford quote: “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
To anyone opening up their own repair shop, Chris would tell them to “believe in yourself and the people around you.” Learning from her own past experience, she also believes that it’s OK to ask for help from the support around you and to not be afraid to take risks.
One of Chris’s favorite things about her shop is the family environment that’s been created between team members and customers. She feels their “customers are more than a sale and [their] team members are more than a paycheck.” Although they’ve owned the shop for 18 years, Bill had worked there for 28 years prior to the couple taking ownership of the shop.
They’ve helped generations of families throughout the years and have befriended many of their customers. And their incredible customers have taken genuine interests in the Probst family; coaching their kids on choosing the right college and career path to helping Chris out with completing her bachelor’s degree in human services.
Bill’s Crestmoor Automotive is located in southeast Denver, close to ski slopes and the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Chris says no matter where you go, someone has something in common with you, and it seems that the community truly does care about one another. Chris always has held a passion to help the community, and she credits DRIVE and fellow shop owners with helping her find resources in order to do so.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris says she has been pleasantly surprised by their customers reaching out to the shop for repairs in order to support their small business. Bill’s Crestmoor Automotive also is also doing its part, offering to deliver hand sanitizer and toilet paper to whoever is in need. In order to adjust their business during the time of coronavirus, Chris says they’ve extended the shop’s hours, increased marketing efforts and made more than 500 wellness calls per week around their community. With DRIVE’s encouragement and help, there isn’t a marketing action she hasn’t taken. Chris looks forward to continuing these marketing initiatives after the current crisis.
The motto Chris and her team goes by is: “We are a small shop, but we are a mighty team!” Some of the best advice she received before buying the shop was, “Always love what you do, and the moment you don’t love it anymore, sit back and think about why.” And it’s clear that Chris and Bill love their shop, love their customers and love what they do.
DRIVE, a Monrovia, California-based consulting group, provided this article.