FORMER MARCH OF DIMES DIRECTOR ENJOYS BEING A LIGHT IN THE AUTO REPAIR INDUSTRY
Amy Stehr and her husband, Mark, opened their Christian Brothers Automotive franchise in Rockwall, Texas, in February 2012. Amy was the Dallas director for the March of Dimes and also operated a small marketing company before becoming a Christian Brothers owner. Amy has been able to make a difference in her community by promoting her faith-based values in her business, while at the same time getting home every night for dinner with her family.
This is her story.
What made you want to open a Christian Brothers Automotive franchise?
There are a couple of things: my husband’s brother, Paul, owns a store in Houston. His store opened about a month before we did. Paul was in the same Bible study with (Christian Brothers Chief Operating Officer) Lewis Ten Have. He gave us insight into the true mission of CBA: treating customers as you’d want to be treated. The integrity and honesty of the business is what interested us. It was something we already had.
The day they broke ground on our store was a day a toll road opened — an easy access highway that goes right into Rockwell, which is a good thing.
One of the things Christian Brothers Automotive explains to us is they don’t necessarily look for an owner who has automotive experience. My husband actually has 30 years of automotive experience, but I am the one who got the store up and running. I brought an outgoing personality and am someone who enjoys helping people. I hire the best people who have technical backgrounds, and then I focus on the overall customer experience.
What is that customer experience like?
We have a personal relationship with all of our customers. We make a point of it, and it’s a big part of what we do here. A lot of times, I’ll bring my customers a drink and we’ll sit down and talk to them, so that they can learn about who we are and we can learn about who they are. People talk to us all the time. We know so much about people, and we know that they get stressed out with their cars.
I can tell you we do oil changes for single moms. We’ve built a relationship with a local church to help them refurbish cars that will go to single moms. We build that relationship and take care of that single mom. We’ve also built a relationship with local group called Patriot Paws, which places service dogs with veterans. Some of those stories are amazing. We’ve been able to help a veteran who came back from Afghanistan and had a car that was sitting for two years. We worked with agencies to get the car going again.
What do you like about the job?
I really like dealing with the people. It’s refreshing. I think a lot of people come into an auto repair shop and they’re scared to death. It feels great to be able to walk them out to the shop and be able to explain to them and show them what they need. It’s the customers that make it fun. When they leave happy and pleased, they will then be more likely to refer you to other people.
We also let the customer know if and when there really is a problem. There’s a lot of negative experience surrounding auto service. But when you have people come in to a clean lobby, and when they are greeted by people who take the time to explain their vehicle’s needs — who can take them into a clean auto repair bay to show them what the mechanics are seeing — it puts people at ease.
What makes Christian Brothers Automotive franchise a better place to work?
It’s the mission. A lot of technicians want to work for someone who is ethical and honest. Technicians, from what I’m learning, are really proud of their work. When they get to see the customer they are helping, it makes a difference. Plus, we really are a family. We’re a small operation. We know everybody’s likes and dislikes. It also helps that we are closed on Saturdays to let people spend time with their families. We try to leave at 6 p.m. and get home to our families.
Are there any customer service incidents that stand out in your memory?
A young lady stands out to me. Her parents drove her here for her first job out of college, and her car broke down just as she got here. Her dad was so worried about her, but we have a special relationship with this little girl. We know where she lives so that we can pick her up and drop her off whenever she needs help. We called her father and told him what was being done. We helped get them a rental car. They didn’t know Rockwall at all, and they were so panicked about what they were experiencing. We have a relationship with the apartment complex where she was going to be renting, and they referred her to us. Getting out in the community is important, because you can earn referrals like that.
What does your typical day look like?
I start my day with running carpool, which is very important to me. This allows me quality time with my kids to learn about what their days hold. I am at work by 9 a.m., and I close the store at 6 p.m. My typical day consists of sitting at my desk doing accounting and marketing as much as possible. But what sets my schedule is shuttling customers to and from home or work and building relationships with them. I am blessed with a husband who loves to cook and gets dinner ready every night.
What kind of person do you think would enjoy owning a Christian Brothers Automotive franchise?
A person who enjoys helping people and making a difference in the community.
Has owning a Christian Brothers changed and/or enriched your life?
Definity! It has brought me many more opportunities to share my love of God with others. I would definitely recommend it.
For in-depth details about the Christian Brothers Automotive franchise opportunity, contact us today.