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Giving Back: His Calling to Expose the Automotive to High School Students [RR 565]

Luke Walker started Luke’s Auto in Columbus Ohio in November of 2009 after being a technician for 5 years. The rent was $350 a month for a 1 bay shop and he had zero employees. The first-year Luke’s Auto did $260,000 in sales. At the end of  2014, Luke’s Auto was up to $750,000 in annual revenue with 10 employees. 

Luke realized that he needed business training and since 2014, he has spent around $150,000 in business consultants and training. This business consulting and training brought his ability as a business owner to a new level and helped to secure Luke’s Auto as one of the top shops in Columbus.

10 years into the business there are now 16 bays, 24 employees, and $4MM in projected revenue for 2020. Luke’s Auto is the top Yelp and Google rated independent shop in all of Columbus and was voted as one of the “Three Best Car Repair Shops” in Columbus. Luke’s has also been features in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

Key Talking Points:

  • Started with 1 bay shop, now has 16 bays, 24 employees and on track for almost 4 million  
    • Coaching consultants (Cecil Bullard, Ryan Clo, Aaron Stokes) big key with success- profits had flatlined and more problems arose as the business grew and became bigger 
    • Credits his success to the team as well- finding talented people that fit the culture of the business
  • Inner-city skills-based non-profit program- wanted to give back to the community
    • 11-19-year-old students-focused on high school students
    • The program was established for 20 years but recently in the last 6 months it had stopped due to lead person retiring because of health reasons
    • After school program- an actual shop that has different stations, once a week for an hour and a half for 6 weeks. Identify and cultivate students that are gifted with working with their hands
    • Time trials- timing how fast they can complete tasks after teaching them, top 3 receive toolsets and invite to advanced program 
    • Helps separate the students that are gifted and interested in the industry sooner, which will help steer them into the right path for their future 
    • Run by Luke and volunteers
  • Hired student from the program
    • Student shadowed at the shop after excelling with program 
    • Youngest hire at the shop at 16 years old
  • Wants to go mobile with program
    • Most of the stations they’ve created are on a workbench inside the shop, can easily transport on a trailer and bring to a  high school
    • Raised 150K so far for program- first donation was from a woman from church that donated 50K, other donations were from NAPA and other dealerships
  • Is making money evil in your mind? 
    • “Love of money is the root of evil”
    • What do you want to look back on? Is it making money or making a difference and help people

Resources:

  • Thanks to Luke Walker for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
  • Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
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Learn more about NAPA AutoCare, Gold Certification, 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; the only one of its type in the automotive aftermarket. Carm calls on his 35 years’ 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, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ path to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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