‘Shop of the Year’ Proud of Its Heritage
CHis shop’s winning ASA-Midwest’s “Facility of the Year” award would not have been possible without the teamwork of his top-notch staff, says Tim Davison. The Chumbley’s team includes (from left) Tucker Lee, Kenny Phillips, Evan Wells, Tim, Rocky Welch, Josh Truman, Keegan Niccum and Larry McKinney.
Chumbly's Auto Care still operating last full-service station
Chumbley’s Auto Care – an award-winning shop in Indianola, Iowa – advertises itself as the shop “where good service never goes out of style.”
Tim Davison, left, discusses inspection report with customers Linda and Jerry Depue.
Tim Davison, AAM, the owner, says: “We are old school when it comes to service, but new school when it comes to fixing cars. We pride ourselves in being a premier automotive repair shop that employs ASE-certified technicians armed with the latest in advanced automotive tools and quality repair information.”
Tim is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were also shop owners. Moreover, Tim’s shop is next door to where his father had his business.
This third-generation shop owner is proud of his heritage. “I grew up listening to business advice from my father, who ran two businesses and made a nice living,” says Tim. “I figured out later, though, that he did so mostly by luck because he only had an eighth-grade education and absolutely no business training.
“I always wanted a shop of my own, but dad’s was not an option because he sold his shop when I was only 14.” In 1999, when he was 32 years old, Tim purchased Chumbley’s Auto Care from Wilbur Chumbley, who was retiring. The location had been a Conoco-brand service station since the late ’30s, and Tim continued offering that brand of gasoline after he acquired Chumbley’s.
After a few years, he terminated the Conoco brand, and decided the last thing he wanted was for his shop to look like an old Conoco service station. Or to be known as a gasoline station that also worked on vehicles. So he remodeled the facility inside and out. He added three more bays and removed two of the four fuel pump islands. He created a whole new look. He wanted a nice, clean, modern auto repair shop. The changes sent a strong message that Chumbley’s was an auto service and repair facility that just happens to have some gas pumps.
Although he removed most of yesteryears’ look, he retained some of the nostalgia. He is proud he is operating the last true full-service station in Indianola. And he retained the Chumbley name because it is synonymous with quality fuel products and has provided excellent auto service for more than 50 years.
Hanging on to some of the nostalgia has paid off.
Data showed him that members of the Baby Boomer generation are his target customers and his leaving some of the “nostalgia” was a hit with them. One time when he was traveling, he told some people he was from Indianola and their reaction was, “Oh, I love that cool old Chumbley’s service station on Main Street.” It made Tim realize his brand is working.
Tim is taking Chumbley’s to a new level and it has earned him and the shop accolades, not only from customers, but from the industry.
Tim Davison shows ASA-Midwest “Facility of the Year” award presented to him at the 2013 VISION HiTech Training & Expo held earlier this year. Chumbley’s is a NAPA Autocare Center and a AAA-approved Top Shop.
Chumbley’s Auto Care was named “Service Facility of the Year” by affiliate ASA-Midwest (formerly ASA-Missouri/Kansas) at the 2013 VISION HiTech Training & Expo held earlier in the year in Overland Park, Kan. The award spotlights a shop’s efforts to promote professionalism in the service and repair industry, and judges review the business’s practices, industry and association participation, community involvement and physical appearance of the facility and team. In addition, nominees must have a measurable customer satisfaction index (CSI) method, such as AAA, NAPA or Carquest, and must maintain a minimum average score of 95.
Chumbley’s has been named “Best of Warren County” five times in the past seven years. And it has been a AAA “Top Shop” the past two years.
Things are going great now for Tim and Chumbley’s Auto Care. But it hasn’t always been that way.
When he acquired the firm, he had a partner. Neither knew how to operate a business, and the shop went deep in debt. Finally, they came to the conclusion that one of them had to go. So Tim borrowed enough money to buy out the partner.
He knows now that he might not have survived if a friend hadn’t invited him to join a 20-Group. 20-Groups bring together non-competing shop owners to exchange best practices, experiences, ideas and strategies.
Tim says he wasn’t sure they’d accept him as a member of the group because he was almost too low in sales to meet requirements, making little money and in debt trying to pay off a loan. But let him join they did and he acquired a business coach. From the coach’s guidance and the wisdom shared by other members of the 20-Group, Tim soon got himself out of debt and began making money.
If it hadn’t been for that friend getting him into a 20-Group, says Tim, “I would be asking if you want fries with your burger.”
So, early on, he learned the value of networking, training and continued education.
What’s ahead for Chumbley’s? “I’d like to add more parking and Building No. 2 for larger fleet service vehicles,” says Tim. “This would also open the possibility of a dedicated drive-through quick-lube bay.”
Meanwhile, says Tim, “We’ll dance with the one that brung us.” After all, good service never goes out of style.
Levy Joffrion is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Photos by Tim McConnell, Fine Photography
Goodwill Marketing Creates a Buzz
Chumbley’s Auto Care has a marketing strategy going that other ASA shops might want to emulate. This summer, it has been offering “Full-Service Friday.” On Fridays, the shop washes a vehicle’s windows (inside and out), vacuums the front floor and checks tires and fluids – all at no charge and no purchase necessary. Tim says, “This is my form of goodwill marketing. The thought is that people buy from people, so if we get the opportunity to meet a driver and perform a goodwill service for them, they will remember us the next time their car needs servicing. We also get a chance to look at the oil sticker, tires, wiper blades, etc. I don’t have much data on sales, but it has created a buzz in the community.” – L.J.
Name of Shop: Chumbley’s Auto Care
Location: Indianola, Iowa
Square Footage of Shop: 2,800 Square Feet
Number of Employees: 9
Number of Repairs Weekly: 190
Projected Annual Sales: $1,200,000
Website Address: www.chumbleysautocare.com
Why Tim Is a Member of ASA: “I joined ASA after seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of members at the Vision event in Kansas City, Mo. I knew I wanted to be a part of this powerful group helping our industry. I attended a kick-off meeting and came home the Des Moines Chapter vice president. We’ve had one meeting so far, but I look forward to getting this program rolling. … I love the articles in AutoInc. and the discounts and many benefits available to members. I believe the biggest benefit of all, though, is the opportunity to network with ‘the good shops.’”
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