Located in Bettendorf, Iowa, along the Mississippi River, Ace Auto Doctor & Repair has been operating for 54 years and counting. From its 1969 beginnings as a radiator shop with a single bay, it's since moved to a new location with seven bays and eight employees.The shop’s motto is to “provide customer service in abundance,” and it shows. The team is known for being friendly and trustworthy. The shop has a reputation for operating efficiently at a high skill level in all areas of automotive service and repair.
Owner Larry Goff says there are many reasons he loves his community. On the whole, community members are dedicated to supporting locally owned businesses and band together to help each other when someone is in need. Being located in the heartland means most people are friendly and easygoing. When he isn’t in the shop, he can be found coaching youth sports, specifically wrestling and baseball. He is an active member in his community and helps organize clubs for the children in his town.
One of the reasons he loves being a shop owner, he said, is the freedom it has given him to spend time with his family. He also took over the shop so he could carry on his parents’ legacy. He says, “I wanted to take the shop to the next level. My parents always worked hard and that’s something I’m proud of.” Now he is serving his community and his team to the best of his ability. Nothing makes him prouder than his staff. “They work so hard, day-in and day-out with the best intentions," he says. "They are the heartbeat of our company.”
His shop didn’t always run this smoothly, though. Before becoming a DRIVE client, Larry was working over 70 hours a week while he and his wife were expecting their second child. Things were always hectic, and he never felt like he was caught up. At first, he disregarded DRIVE’s calls, he says. “I was too busy running, or rather getting run by, my shop.” After going to the seminar in Chicago, his life changed for the better. He no longer has to run himself ragged to keep the business afloat. Now, he works around 30 hours a week and travels without worrying about the shop while he’s away. The best part? He has gotten to be a major part of his youngest children’s daily lives.
As a DRIVE client, Goff has learned many invaluable skills. One of them is how to recruit and retain top talent.
“I have learned how to hire and train the right people to handle the business for me,” he says. When you have a team you can trust, not only are day-to-day operations smoother, but you are able to step away from the business as much as you would like.
One of the largest aids in getting his shop out there has been word-of-mouth marketing. When a customer feels like he or she has been treated right and received good service, not only are they more likely to come back themselves, but they’ll even recommend your shop to people they know. Along with that, Goff says, “our social media and website, which is run by DRIVE, are all the key foundations to all of our marketing efforts.” When your shop is easy to find online, potential customers can see exactly what you have to offer and why they should choose you over the competitors in your area.
Goff is also lucky enough to be able to work with some of his family members. His mom comes in once a week to help with filing, audit the part statements, sort mail, and enter the bills. His eldest son Dustin is the shop manager. He grew up around the shop and even worked in it while in high school. After graduating high school, he went out into the world for a decade before deciding to come back to the family business. They’re now planning on having him take over the business within the next five years.