Shop Owner Mastermind [THA 373]

In this Mastermind style podcast episode of the Aftermarket Radio Network’s Town Hall Academy, host Carm Capriotto discuss the significance of training, customer loyalty, and the challenges of business expansion. Matt Wagg, AJ Nealy, and John Long share their experiences investing in their teams’ development, creating memorable customer experiences, and the personal growth required for successful leadership. They also delve into the complexities of scaling from a single shop to multiple locations, discussing the importance of readiness, strategic planning, and learning from both successes and failures in the expansion process.

Matt Wagg, Accelerated Diagnostics and Automotive, Bennington, NE

AJ Nealey, Nealey Auto and Tire, 5 Locations, Edgewater, Deale, Owings, Pasadena, and Rockville, MD

John Long, Total True Automotive, 3 Location MSO, Shertz, and New Braunfels, TX

Show Notes:

  • Watch Full Video Episode
  • Matt Wagg’s journey (00:00:39) Matt Wagg shares his journey into the shop business, including his business plan and speaking at a college.
  • AJ Nealy’s experience with the podcast (00:01:08) AJ Nealy discusses his experience with the podcast and his approach to business.
  • Earning customer loyalty (00:05:14) The panel discusses the importance of earning customer loyalty and creating memorable experiences.
  • Creating a positive customer experience (00:07:08) The panel talks about creating a positive customer experience and the importance of communication.
  • Unexpected extras for customers (00:10:13) John Long shares examples of unexpected extras for customers, such as giving out stuffed animals and matchbox cars.
  • Investment in training and loyalty (00:13:33) AJ Nealy and Matt Wagg discuss the investment in training and the impact on employee loyalty.
  • The impact of closing for training (00:15:46) The positive impact of closing for training on staff and customer perception.
  • Empowering employees through training (00:16:45) The importance of empowering employees through training and the impact on customer and employee satisfaction.
  • The importance of operational excellence (00:22:23) The focus on operational excellence, cross-training, and creating a consistent guest experience.
  • Leadership and business growth challenges (00:26:12) Challenges faced in leadership, business growth, and the need for personal and professional development.
  • Adapting to leadership role and business redefinition (00:28:02) The need for redefining the role as a leader, making difficult choices, and redefining business operations.
  • Growth and future business plan (00:31:29) Discussion on surpassing business plan goals, the need to plan for the future, and the desire to spread skills to the community.
  • The feeling of going from 1 to 2 (00:32:09) Exploring the decision to expand from one to multiple stores and the passion and drive required.
  • Preparation and access to capital (00:32:37) The importance of being ready with processes, systems, and access to capital before expanding to multiple locations.
  • Different approaches to expansion (00:34:23) Considerations and challenges of different approaches to expanding, such as new build, brownfield, or acquisition.
  • Challenges and surprises in expansion (00:37:06) Challenges faced in opening new locations, including marketing, demographics, and unexpected surprises.
  • Learning from mistakes and failures (00:39:53) The importance of learning from mistakes and failures in the process of expanding and growing the business.
  • Adapting to different store cultures (00:42:42) Understanding the differences in store cultures and leadership styles as businesses expand to multiple locations.

Thanks to our Partner, NAPA TRACS

NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

Follow the podcast on your favorite podcast listening app and always listen to learn just one thing!