A Simple Letter of Intent Transformed an Employee Into a Shop Owner [RR 551]

Terica Buckner grew up in Portland Oregon and now lives in Vancouver Washington with her husband Andrew and their two year old daughter Emrys. She started working on cars at Benson High School in the automotive program at age 15 and started working as the shop helper at Hawthorne Auto Clinic just before her senior year. Terica continued her education by completing her Associate degree in Applied Science for Automotive at Mt Hood Community College, working as an automotive technician apprentice at Hawthorne Auto Clinic as part of the program.

Shortly after graduating she became a service advisor at the Clinic and later earned her Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Terica expanded her skillset by becoming the bookkeeper while continuing service advising, utilizing both her degrees and automotive technical experience. After 20 years of working at Hawthorne Auto Clinic she was offered the chance to purchase the shop and took over ownership 2 years later in January 2020. Terica continues working with passion in the automotive industry and is excited to now be in the position to set new standards in an ever changing field, especially with the current challenges COVID-19 presents. Look for Terica’s Episodes HERE.

Key Talking Points:

  • Employee turned shop owner23 years total, started summer before senior year of high school 
  • Was apart of the automotive program in high school then a scholarship to apprentice program for post-secondary schooling
  • Passion for fixing things
  • A succession plan for the previous ownerWanted to retire within 5 years, Terica wrote a letter of intent for buying the business
  • Terica had the experience in many different roles in the business along with established relationships with the employees and customers
  • Advice for other female technicians wanting to become an owner- open communication with the existing owner, learn as much as you can about all aspects and roles of the business. Share your dreams and passions with others. 
  • Covid-196 months into owning business pandemic happens
  • I the first week the town shut down the sales dropped 50-60%- put majority of staff on furlough, held onto 2 of their top technicians to continue working
  • Each week got better with the support of customers
  • Sent emails to customers to keep them updated on their sanitizing procedures and tips to keep car maintenance from not driving 
  • Staff4 females, 4 males
  • Technician training- 40 required hours of training per year, give feedback about training classes after completed


  • Thanks to Terica Buckner for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
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Since 1989 TRACS has been the industry’s leading shop management system. And in the last 30 years it’s gotten better and better. Today TRACS Enterprise offers even more of the features AutoCare Center owners want—things like a powerful interactive scheduling calendar, faster and streamlined work flow, plus streamlined parts ordering and purchasing options. And there’s more—Punch-out to Mitchell ProDemand, mobile VIN capture, and multi-shop capabilities. That means you can count on TRACS Enterprise to help drive your success today and well into the future.

Learn more about TRACS Enterprise and the hundreds of other benefits the NAPA family has to offer. Talk with your servicing NAPA store or visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com

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!