If you had told me just a few years ago I’d be writing about the automotive aftermarket, I would have probably rolled my eyes at you. Back then, I was naive and knew NOTHING about maintaining my vehicle.
Just to illustrate how little I knew; I once thought it was OK to drive three hours across the state with oil leaking from my car. I didn’t think to get the leak fixed, or check the oil levels before my drive and I arrived at my destination with no oil. Another time, I attempted to continue driving as my alternator slowly died — the diming radio and lights should have been a clue to pull over — and my car came to a stop in rush hour traffic.
Today, I lecture my family members on properly maintaining their vehicles. I insist at the very least that they check fluid levels and tire pressure before a trip. I even plan to take the ASE G1 in a few months.
Why the 180° from beating up cars to loving the maintenance of them? How did I end up as the new editor of Shop Owner magazine?
I joined Babcox Media five years ago as a member of our sister publication Tire Review. I spent just over four years engrossed in the tire industry writing for independent tire dealers, who operate very similarly to IRFs. My time on Tire Review taught me a lot about the running of an automotive service business, as well as gave me an obsession of checking out tires in parking lots.
I later joined the Tech Group at Babcox, editing for Brake & Front End, Underhood Service and ImportCar magazines while learning the more technical side of our business.
Over the years attending industry events, such as AAPEX and SEMA as well as participating in activities for the Women in Auto Care and YANG, I fell in love with this industry.
First, I fell in love with the people, and then I fell in love with the industry itself.
Every shop owner, parts distributor or manufacturer I’ve ever met is passionate about the industry. That passion is contagious. Everyone has a love and drive to keep the motoring public safe on our roads.
As the new editor of Shop Owner, I want to build upon what has already been established within the pages of this magazine. Your day-to-day is about solving other people’s problems, so I want to help you solve the problems facing your business. From HR issues and marketing to customer service and keeping up with today’s technology, I want to cover it all.
I want to get to know you, your businesses and your concerns. I would love to establish a reader advisory panel, giving you the opportunity to regularly share feedback on industry issues. If this is something you would welcome participating in, please email or call me.
Maybe you’re not interested in participating in a panel, but would be willing to be contacted for articles. What is your business doing different than anyone else? I want to hear about it.
I want to connect with you, so share your personal or shop’s Twitter handle, Facebook page or Instagram account.
If it’s keeping you up at night, it may be keeping someone else up as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to share your opinion or concern.
I am just a steward of this magazine; this magazine is all about you. The more readers who engage with the magazine, the better it will be.
Kristen can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 330-670-1234 ext. 273.