‘Daddy’s Girl’ Helps Father Grow Fort Worth Shop
She’s bringing her business background to the table.
Like so many ASA shops – Jewell Auto in Fort Worth, Texas – is family-owned and operated. But it’s different from most shops in that it’s a father-daughter team running the business. Most family-owned shops involve father/son, brothers, or husband/ wife partnerships.
The father is Mike Jewell and the daughter is Sarah Jewell Nurse.
Sarah and Mike Jewell are shown by their shop’s tow truck. Mike credits Sarah’s involvement in the business as one of the greatest blessings of his life. And Sarah is grateful for the opportunity to work with her dad who is also one of her dearest friends. They each bring to the management and leadership team qualities that work well together. They feel blessed to have “the most incredible staff” and customers they consider “family.”
Mike has three daughters who, along with his five grandchildren, are the greatest joys in his life, he says. The other two daughters – Natalie Jewell Gass and Amy Jewell – sometimes helped out in the shop when they were younger, but it was Sarah who seemed to like working there the most. And Sarah has always been his sidekick. The two have always had a special relationship. “I always wanted to be with dad, doing what he was doing and asking him endless questions along the way,” says Sarah. She readily admits to having been a “Daddy’s Girl.” “Still am,” she asserts, even though she is a wife, mom to a 3-year-old son and expecting a daughter this May.
She inherited Mike’s passion for cars. And it was Sarah who, at the age of 5 or 6, when Mike first started working on vehicles in his driveway, handed her father the tools he needed while he was under a car. Sarah was also there, right alongside her dad, when he drove an 18-wheeler to Dallas and South Texas while he and his father were in the battery business together.
It was Mike’s father who introduced him to cars, and Mike grew to love vehicles.
His father also instilled in Mike a work ethic that, Mike says, has served him well over the years.
After high school, Mike attended a technical school and earned a degree in diesel mechanics.
Obviously, his interest in vehicles was there. But, because his faith meant so much to him, he thought he should become a preacher, and he earned two graduate degrees from Southwestern Baptist Seminary.
He was the pastor of a church for seven years and worked with homeless people, but finally decided he could pursue his love for cars and still minister to homeless people.
While in school, he had worked on cars in his driveway. And his reputation for honesty, know-how and professionalism in repairing and servicing vehicles caused his business to grow rapidly – leading to his opening Jewell Auto in 1987.
The Jewell Auto team includes (from left) Terry Schranz, master technician; Mark Ramirez, lube tech; Mike Jewell, owner, president; Sarah Jewell Nurse, owner, vice president; Charolette Gowan, customer service specialist; Jose Flotte, Mikey Wilson and Alonso Gomez, technicians. Not shown: Raymond Gowan, service adviser; and Clark Martin, porter. Jewell Auto is a AAA-approved auto repair facility, and a member of ASE and the Better Business Bureau. It has been on Angie’s List since 2004 and is Ask Patty Certified-Female Friendly.
Meantime, Sarah went away to Texas Tech University, graduated, moved to Boston and for four years was regional director for human resources and training for a hotel company. But she always knew that when the time was right, she’d move back to Texas and fulfill her dream of helping her dad grow Jewell Auto.
Sarah joined her dad in 2008.
Mike was still the chief cook and bottle washer. He did it all. He took cars in from customers, worked on them, and checked the customers out. Now, Jewell Auto employs 10 people.
Jewell Auto is growing because of the shop’s reputation for treating customers fairly and doing a good job in repairing and servicing cars. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. For example, when Mike bought the property, the city assured him there were no easements or anything that would prohibit his constructing a new building. After he purchased it, though, the city informed him that there was indeed an easement that prevented his building on the property. It all got straightened out and he was finally able to build, but in the meantime, for 22 months he worked on cars on the site’s gravel drive without the benefit of running water or electricity. That meant he had no lift and couldn’t use impact tools. “It was a tough time,” says Mike.
He also recalls the hailstorm that hit Fort Worth in 1995. It was the costliest hailstorm in Texas’ history, causing $1.6 billion in damage as giant hail smashed cars and roofs across the heart of the city.
Mike was also in the business of selling cars at the time, and most of them were so badly damaged that he wound up hauling them to the junkyard. He suffered a $30,000 loss.
(From left) Terry Schranz, Mikey Wilson and Mike Jewell discuss the suspension of a vehicle. Schranz and Wilson, technicians, are telling Mike their findings so he can relay that information to the vehicle owner.
In spite of setbacks like those described above, the shop has continued to grow.
The shop’s growth called for – in 2011 – expanding its garage and constructing new office space. Since Sarah joined the firm, Jewell Auto has added 3,100 square feet to its facility.
What’s ahead for Jewell Auto? They’re thinking about adding a location as well as opening a car wash/lube center. Meantime, they’ll keep on living by the Good Book, enjoying family, and treating customers like they would want to be treated.
Name of Shop: Jewell Auto
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