RR 357: Shop Talk Volume 2- Women Shop Owners


Kim Auernheimer, AAM is the Co-Owner & Business Manager of CS Automotive in Brentwood, Tennessee. CS Automotive was opened in October of 2006 in the back of a warehouse and now they call a 6,400 square foot, 10-bay shop home.  Prior to joining her husband Rob in the business on a full-time basis, Kim had a career in Commercial Real Estate and Property Management. In July of 2011, she stepped out from the background of the business and joined her husband in the venture of creating an industry-leading standout

Kim continuously seeks out training for her and her entire team and put the teachings to use. Her belief in industry education has been a large influence on how much success and growth they have had over the last few years.  She has a passion to improve the reputation of the Automotive Repair industry working alongside other shop owners and industry leaders to improve the overall experience of the customer from the moment they make that first call to the shop until they drive their car off the lot instilling transparency and developing trust during the entire process.

In 2017, she obtained her Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. This is a result of 120-credit hours of coursework in several core competencies including leadership, marketing, customer relations, accounting, and several other areas of automotive repair business management. Listen to Kim’s Episodes HERE.

Kathleen Jarosik from Xpertech Auto Repair in Englewood, FL, began her career in the automotive field in late 2003 when she and her husband decided to purchase their own shop and relocate from Florida’s Atlantic Coast to the beautiful Gulf Coast.

Kathleen spent much of her time in the background, managing the payroll, accounts payable and paperwork. She was involved with the operations of the business as well as being a part-time stay at home mom to her two daughters, who are now 16 and 12.

In 2009, after divorcing, Kathleen purchased the shop from her former husband and began to run it as her own. Shortly afterward, she became a Napa Auto Care center and utilized their extensive benefit and training network to learn and grow her business.

Looking back, Kathleen believes her NAPA decision was one of the most pivotal business decisions she has made to date. The benefits have been game changers and over the years have taught her how to become a better manager, leader, and steward in her community. In 2015, Kathleen became an ASE certified Service Consultant (C1).

Her shop had shown consistent growth of around 5% year to year but since partnering with her business coach she has increased considerably more than 10% each year.

Kathleen looks forward to becoming more involved in the industry as a whole as well as continuing to run her repair shop and being involved in more community activities in her town. Listen to Kathleen’s Episodes HERE.

Maryann Croce experienced feeling isolated in the early years of owning her auto shop. Small business owners don’t have the vast resources of big businesses. She knew there had to be a better way. From the training and mentoring she received, she was able to tap into the leadership skills within and change her business and life.

Working within constraints can be freeing and powerful. You start focusing on the right activities at the right time, creating results and momentum. Mentoring and training have been a big part of her entire life. The relationships she had built have been invaluable to both personal and business growth.

Maryann enjoyed the opportunity to share what she learned to help others by speaking at local and industry events. Listen to Maryann’s previous episodes HERE.  Small Biz Vantage Website


Key Talking Points

  • Find harmony between home and shop. Each area prospers if there is harmony in your life.
  • Delegation
    • Let your people do what they were hired to do.
    • Get your people to ‘discover their strengths’
    • Kim is not calling the shop when she travels. It took a long time to get there, but she knows that is important to allow your team to blossom and flourish that also builds scale in your business.
    • Kim has gotten to the level that they can stop working 12 hour days and start working ‘part-time’. She still has guild being away from the shop.
  • These shop owners are all mothers and the challenge to wear the mom hat, the parent hat and the business owner hat is hard work.
  • Every business goes through stages and a big factor in that growth is having the right people on your team.
  • Each of these women has a business coach that helped guide them through change and continuous success.
  • What’s working?
    • Culture.
    • People’s dedication.
    • Strong systems and processes allow you to scale and deliver a consistently exceptional customer experience.
  • Go back and visit your excitement when you started. Find that mindset. Market like you are new business.
    • Celebrate your wins.
  • Embrace the changes that are coming.
  • Was there a turning point in your business that made a difference.
    • Maryann. She wanted her business to be sustainable.
      • In the beginning just being able to take a paycheck home was a challenge, but keeping an eye on the goal will help you make important decisions to grow and sustain the business.
    • Kathleen. She hired a business coach who gave her the courage to step forward. She did a women’s car care clinic that ultimately led to her first Women In Auto Care meeting. That is when she realized she was not a unicorn and there were other female shop owners that inspired her.
      • Reach out and find a mentor.
      • Communicate with your team. Both ways. They need to understand your vision and you need to understand their life and goals.
    • Kim. Went to her first WorldPac training expo when she was in a tough financial situation. A light bulb came on. She is naturally competitive so she and her husband Rob decided they were going to be one of the best shops in the United States.
      • Being the best is a state of mind.
  • Building your culture
    • Maryann. It started with building their core values.
      • No one was going to care more about the customer than them. It was part of their brand.
      • You act according to your beliefs (core values)
      • Develop your team.
    • Kim. It starts with you.
      • It will become contagious.
      • She dressed for success every day.
      • Create your vision and share it with everyone.
      • Get help. Networking. 20 group. Business Coach. CEO training.
    • Get involved to solve your problems through networking and gaining knowledge.
    • Some shop owners don’t know what they don’t know.
    • Kathleen had an eye-opening that she did not have to stand inside her box. Once she stepped out her business blossomed.
    • Maryann says it starts with self-assurance.
      • Your own confidence
  • Join associations to build your support network
  • Encourage the next generation. Help them.

Other Resources:

Patrick McHugh Episode Mentioned (Pivot)

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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!