J & A Transmission Auto Service, in Morris, Illinois, has been open for over three decades. This family-owned shop is known for caring about their customers and the quality of work they produce. John & Aaron McNabb, the dynamic brother duo and owners of J & A, know that their “can-do” attitude truly sets them apart from their competitors. John's wife, Alana, has been an integral part of keeping the business organized on all fronts. With her help and their trusted team of 13, the McNabb family can tackle anything together.
The shop is nestled a mile away from the small town of Morris. With just a little over 14,000 residents, Alana McNabb calls their quaint community "The Hallmark Channel town." All the residents know one another and are always there for each other. When she’s not working, she and her family love doing anything in the outdoors: hiking, biking, or traveling in general. They also make time to do martial arts together every week as a family.
McNabb loves that they own their own shop. “We are in control of our future,” she said. They get to make decisions together and choose the best plan for their future. One decision that has positively impacted them was becoming DRIVE clients. "DRIVE keeps us up to date on the latest innovations and technology to help our shop and alleviate our stress levels,” she said, noting the new ideas they gain help them continually improve their business.
Before becoming a DRIVE client, McNabb said, “We were running around at Mach 6 with our hair on fire.” It was hectic, she said, and no matter what they did it felt like they were never actually making any money, in contrast to how J & A functions today. Now, they have total control over not only their finances but the shop as a whole. They have the power to do what they want with their free time, like spending quality time with their family or take vacations without worrying about the shop. "Well we don't worry too much anymore, but as a shop owner, you’re ALWAYS aware," she said.
One way they continue to find new customers is through their radio advertising. Alana creates the 30 second clips for the commercials herself. She likes to get witty with them and makes sure they all contain clever rhymes. They are so well-liked that customers will approach her when she’s out and about to pass on their ideas they want incorporated. What is J & A's best marketing tactic? “You can’t beat word-of-mouth!” McNabb said. When you are known for your excellent service, she noted, previous customers will recommend you to the people in their lives, and that continues to expand your clientele.
Another way the McNabb family gets through the rough patches is by talking to other shop owners. The communities and friends that come with being a business owner have a wealth of knowledge at their disposal. Most likely, they have been through the same or similar situation you are experiencing.
“I love the fellowship and like-mindedness that’s built between shop owners," McNabb said. "Business owners know what you are going through, the specific struggles you face, and you don't feel alone. Talking with other shop owners always makes my day brighter."
Not only does the brother duo own J & A Transmission, but they’ve opened up another shop as well – Morris Tire & Alignment. Across the board their slogan is “Working Together to Serve You Better.” They strive to give their customers the best quality service possible, which is why they are known for their wonderful customer service by their community. When people have car troubles, the locals know they can count on the McNabb Family for any of their automotive needs.