Located on the beautiful island of Galveston, Texas, shop owner John Eanes runs his business based on the philosophy, “If you keep your current customers happy, you will never have to worry about getting new customers.”
Galveston Automotive Professionals (G.A.P.) owner John Eanes is a 5th generation Galvestonian – he and his wife Lynn live in the house his great-grandfather built in 1906. Their shop is located in the heart of the historic downtown area of the city. Galveston is not only rich in history but offers mixed cultures. For the wonderful people who appreciate a slower lifestyle, a great sunset, a drive along the beach and a great mechanic, Eanes says Galveston is the ideal location.
With more than 30 years of mechanical experience, Eanes says his lifetime goal was always to be a mechanic. After high school, he graduated from Texas State Technical Institute’s Automotive Repair program and began working in various dealerships. In 1991, after realizing the dealerships weren’t appreciating his hard work and valuing him as an employee, he decided enough was enough and opened his own shop.
As an O’Reilly Certified Auto Repair facility, Galveston Automotive offers a 5-star automotive repair experience that provides a clean and bright repair facility, friendly and professional staff, complete and thorough vehicle repairs at a fair and honest price, and outstanding customer service. They also provide a desirable work environment that offers both professional and economic growth for its employees. Eanes takes pride in having the support of his community for nearly 30 years and promises that G.A.P will always stand behind its word and its work to customers. Unfortunately, G.A.P. does not have a parking lot, so it utilizes street parking and must constantly move cars. The coordination and logistics of vehicles is crucial to the shop’s success and scheduling appointments is critical to keeping the day under control.
Throughout the years, John says he has faced many challenges as a shop owner – one major challenge he faced early on was finding a bigger space so that he could get more customers and start hiring people to help him. In 2000, he bought a 6,000 square foot building that used to be part of an antique car museum on Mechanic Street. He moved the business to that location with the hope that one day he would be able to fill that huge space.
After moving in, Eanes says things were “rocking and rolling.” He started getting more business, hired more mechanics and a service writer. Everything seemed great, until September 13, 2008, when Galveston was hit by Hurricane Ike. More than 75 percent of all buildings on the island had water or wind damage. “Mechanic Street had over 13 feet of water. Nearly 7 feet of water surged into their shop during the storm. Undeterred, Eanes felt he had already put too much time and energy into his shop, and nothing was going to stop him from reaching his new goal, becoming the best shop in Galveston! Though they were evacuated for 12 days, once they returned to the island, he, his wife and their team spent the next 2 months cleaning up and working to get back to business.
Eanes recalls that when he opened his shop, he thought if the shop was full of cars, he was making money. After joining DRIVE in 2013, he soon found out how wrong he was. It required many difficult changes but has brought significant success and has changed his life dramatically. Since 2013, his sales have gone from $400,000 to just under $1,000,000 in 2020. That includes almost a 10 percent increase over 2019, quite a statement for a year unlike any other.
Eanes says that every square inch of the shop floor is in use for production. With the help of his wife Lynn and his DRIVE consultant, he has learned how to fix his business and change how he views his role as “The Owner.” He admits that change has never come easy to him, but after a year of many consultant calls and resisting change, with the encouragement of his wife he finally realized that DRIVE’s ideas could and would help him gain control of the business. All he had to do, he says, was believe there was a better way to run the shop.
“Once I accepted the advice being given, I discovered that incremental changes could change my life exponentially. As soon as that light bulb went off in my head, there was no looking back,” he says.
John convinced Lynn to quit her job in 2018 and come to work as the shop’s business manager, a move that has been a win-win situation. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t work with your wife,” he says.Inside the shop, the Eanes have built a successful team, and both Lynn and John have a positive outlook for the future of G.A.P. and their personal lives too. Outside the shop, one of their joint passions is spending quality time together. They have three antique Packards and the Eanes enjoy enjoy getting them out for a Sunday drive, going to meets with other Packard owners and are always on the lookout for another great car to add to their collection.
Most of all, the Eanes enjoy spending time at their second home in Bandera, Texas, basking in the quietness of the Hill Country, watching the wildlife, and relaxing peacefully on the back porch. They also love to travel and look forward to the pandemic getting under control so they can jump on a plane and visit Europe once again.
In addition to their own interests, the Eanes take community involvement very seriously. Lynn has served on the Boards of Directors of the Galveston Island Humane Society, The Galveston County Food Bank and the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy. John has been a member of Kiwanis for more than 25 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors of African Children’s Haven, an organization that supports a community of African (Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania) children and their families to help them achieve healthier, happier and more productive lives.
And all of it was made possible due to John Eane’s acceptance that change, though difficult, can be extremely beneficial.
Information prepared by Christian Cesena.