GM's Automotive Launches with $150,000 Loan from First National

Garrett McKenzie was born in Beaver Falls, PA and has remained in the greater Erie area his entire life as he currently lives in Cambridge Springs with his wife Starr and their daughter Mya. After graduating from Saegertown High School in 1996, he went on to become an account manager at North Street Auto. Through this position, McKenzie had the responsibility for assisting automotive repair facilities. He became a machinist, then shift supervisor for Meadville Forge in 1998. In 2005, he moved on to Parker Hannifin Autoclave Engineers to work as a machinist. Most recently, he was the production supervisor for the first shift operation. This shift included the responsibility of 50 employees. McKenzie has not only a vast amount of experience through his different jobs, but he also has continued his education in training courses that focused on business and leadership skills development, as well as focusing on lean manufacturing and operational excellence. In addition, he has many certifications from Parker Hannifin including business skills and personnel management.

In 2016, McKenzie decided to purchase Davis Auto Service in Waterford PA. He plans to remain at Parker Hannifin while he transitions into the ownership position at Davis Auto Service. By doing this, he will be able to financially secure the growing business. Furthermore, he will be able to focus on increasing profits for Davis Auto Service while also implementing marketing initiatives.

GM’s Automotive will continue as a full service automotive repair shop and safety inspection station location in Waterford, PA. The business has a current target market that includes the areas of Erie, Waterford, Edinboro and surrounding communities. The demand for automotive repair shops stays constant except for during the Christmas holiday season. The current business has a strong customer service base, with 4,000 clients.

Not only does McKenzie plan on extending his inspections and repair services to motorcyclists, but he has big plans for his new venture from a market standpoint as well. Davis Auto never had a website. McKenzie plans on launching a new initiative that involves subcontracting a vendor to create a website that he claims will attract the younger tech savvy market which will eventually grow giving his clients and future customers the option to schedule appointments online. Lastly he will be implementing a pickup and drop-off services for those who are busy or not able to drop off their vehicle at the existing facility. This will extend convenience as well as extend their market reach to those who do not regularly pass the location.

The client purchased the business with a $150,000 loan from First National Bank and a $75,000 seller note. The Gannon SBDC assisted with the preparation of the business plan and financial projections and will continue working with the client on marketing initiatives. There are three full-time employees.