Cottman Man Finds Success in Shawnee
the key to any successful center is a great reputation and Jim Lamar, who owns the Cottman of Shawnee, Kansas with his wife, Nancy, is always conscious of maintaining a terrific reputation in his neighborhood.
“I get customers calling me all the time,” says Jim. “They tell me, ‘I was just on the internet; you guys get great reviews! I want to bring my car there.’”
One thing that’s had a tremendous impact on Jim’s center has been his willingness to help folks in trouble. One day he was watching his local news show, when the consumer watch program did a report on a consumer who’d been cheated by a local repair shop.
“So I called the news channel and offered to help the consumer,” says Jim. “We got the car in and rebuilt his transmission at no charge. I even filled his gas tank!
“The whole thing was covered on the news, and I got a letter from the mayor of Shawnee, thanking me for stepping up.”
While he didn’t do it for any specific reward, Jim acknowledges that he’s had at least a half-dozen customers say they brought their cars in simply because they saw the report on the news and decided that’s the shop where they’d like to have their cars fixed.
Customer Oriented Auto Repair Services
How did Jim get into the Cottman of Shawnee, Kansas center? While most shop owners got their start either as technicians or because they were looking for a business opportunity, Jim got his start shortly after leaving college, working behind the counter at a repair shop.
“I went to work for a Sears Automotive Center in 1975 as a service writer,” says Jim. “I left there to take a job as the assistant manager at a Walmart TBA (Tires, Batteries, and Accessories).” But there were some bumps in the road: “On my 89th day there, they released me and replaced me with someone willing to work for minimum wage.”
From there, he took a job as an outside salesman for a transmission shop. After two years he was promoted to shop manager. He moved on to a couple other jobs, till he found a center where he was truly happy: “I stayed on as the center manager for 24 years,” he says.
He might still be there today, but the center’s owner retired and turned the shop over to his sons. Jim couldn’t work for them, so he called a friend who originally owned the Cottman of Shawnee, Kansas center.
“I asked if he knew anyone looking for a good manager. He hooked me up with the owner of this center. I had a couple meetings with the owner and he hired me.” A couple years later, the owner decided to get out of the business, so Jim bought the center from him.
Since then, Jim’s tenacity and desire to serve his customers have built a business model that he’s proud of… one that’s growing every day.
Jim can be reached at www.CottmanofShawnee.com.