Curry’s Auto Service was incorporated in 1997 and we opened for our first day of business on March 16th 1998. I started Curry’s Auto Service with $103,000 in debt spread out over 13 credit cards, a $200,000 equipment loan, and a $35,000 loan from my father-in-law. I quit my job making $106,000 a year and opened Curry’s Auto Service taking a 65% pay cut (I paid myself only $35,000 per year). Soon after, my wife Judy had our second child, Jenna, and she decided to quit her job and join the business too. We risked it all to start Curry’s Auto Service. We had all of our eggs in one basket and had the attitude that we COULDN’T fail.
The first day we opened we did about $600 in business (we actually had a few customers!) and in our first year we did $800,000 in sales in 9 months. We were in a cramped, terrible location in the Sullyfield Industrial Park in Chantilly, Virginia far away from the main road and with only four parking spots. When you’re in the auto repair industry, having only four parking spots is a major challenge! In fact we had to rent 15 parking spots behind the building and I was paying the guy $500 cash. He had two big dogs, a Rottweiler and a Doberman Pinscher, and I had to run into his office, give him the $500, and run out all before the dogs ate me. It was kind of a funny experience…
Since that first year of being in business we were able to grow through providing high quality auto repair but really by having superior customer service. At year 2 ½ we were able to open our second store up and we were actually able to open three new locations in a two year span while also expanding our first building. Our growth has been very accelerated at Curry’s Auto Service; we’re now a 14 ½ year old company about to open our 10th location and I think having a clearly defined vision and keeping a laser focus on where you want to go with your company and communicating that message & vision all across the company lines and making it part of your culture is very important.
So go out there if you have a good plan – I started in the tire business when I was 15; it was all I’ve ever done so I knew the business from the inside out – have a goal, go at it, take some risks and start your own business!