Greg and Nancy Morrison’s auto care and repair business is not on a main thoroughfare should come as no surprise. After all they took a different route to business success and their business is likewise off the beaten path.
“It’s like going to work every day and enjoying what you do, it’s not really going to work,” Morrison said of owning his business, Greg’s Auto Service, on Rostalk Road. “So that’s basically what it is every day.”
Greg and Nancy’s thriving business began, simply enough, as Greg taking care of the auto repair needs of family and friends. But the couple, who are very much people of faith, said they were being led all along to break out into business on their own.
“It’s like (our accountant told us) you go along like you always have and then wham – God hits you up along the head and says, ‘this way,’” Nancy said.
When the couple met and got married, Greg worked for Burkhart Farm Center handling farm machine repair and new equipment set-up. For years he had worked on vehicles of family and friends when he got home. Nancy was a lab tech and later did IT work for Avita Health Services in Galion.
But not long after Greg and Nancy were married, the extra work on the side became as time consuming as his regular job and before long, Greg felt backed into a corner.
“I was doing that (working on cars) until 1 or 2 in the morning and then going to work,” Greg said. “I thought about it (going into business) not long after we were married. We were working towards it all those years buying tools.”
And when things came together for the Morrisons, they came together quickly. In the span of approximately a year they built a home on Rostalk Road, had their son Eric, and then Greg quit his job to go into business for himself full-time and built a building on the property of their home dedicated to the repair business.
“There was never a time we weren’t taken care of,” Nancy said.
“Never a time the bills weren’t paid,” Greg added.
While Nancy continued to work for Avita, Greg’s business continued to thrive and grow. Originally just himself and his father-in-law, Larry Snyder, who pitched in, soon Greg was hiring other mechanics to help handle the steady flow of work that came into his shop.
Sometimes there were as many as three or four people besides Greg working at the business.
“Our customers are our best advertisement,” Nancy said.
“It would be nice if people knew we were here,” Greg said, nodding to the open fields and woods that surround their home and business on Rostalk Road just off of Ohio 100 as it nears Morrow County. “But one of the nice things about it if you look back to when we started to where we are today, it’s been a gradual build up.”
The Morrisons began talking about the need for an office, as well as an office manager. The constant phone calls were keeping Greg and his other mechanic, Eddie Sulser, on the phone instead of under the hood. Plus there was the time consuming work of ordering parts and tires, a service Greg had added to the business.
“We had talked about doing a real, true office out here for two or three years,” Nancy said. “We just didn’t have a real good plan. But with the growth, we just had to do something office-wise. With the number of people we were serving we just had to do something.”
That something came to the business in the person of Nancy herself who left Avita after 22 years in the first quarter of 2015. Initially, they transformed the back room of the garage Greg had used to store his own “toys” and where Eric had a basketball court into a temporary office.
But the plan had always been to build an office and in November of 2015, they moved the office into the brand new space connected to the side of the garage and Greg and Eric got their play space back.
But in the meantime, Nancy also added to the staff by hiring Eddie’s wife Tami to help her out and also add detailing to the list of services offered by the business.
“They’re able to actually keep working on the vehicles and not be on the phone all the time,” Nancy said of Greg and Eddie, adding they were able to return calls quicker and schedule appointments
"We’ve been able to so some customer savings on our parts,” Nancy said. “We feel it has definitely improved our customer relations.”
Greg’s Auto Service has grown from a spare time business serving family and friends into a full service enterprise. In addition to basic service and engine repair, the shop now sells tires, does alignments on site, replaces engines and transmissions, headlight restoration and auto detailing.
“The detailing is something we hope will take off,” Nancy said, noting that she and Tami handled that part of the business themselves.
Greg said the new office makes the garage an environment that he had always wanted for his clientele`.
“We wanted to be a place where a wife could come with her kids and be comfortable waiting,” Greg said.
Nancy jokingly hinted the next addition will be personnel in the garage with Greg and Eddie. “Eric has been a mechanic-in-training for us as well.”
-Written by Gary Ogle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Story copyrights owned by Saga Communications and North Central Ohio Media Group. Used by permission.