The Family Business Mechanics and Towers

My husband owned a garage along with a wrecker service. These types of businesses are not the stereotype as a shade tree mechanic, nor a Gomer Pyle. There were so many government rules with which you had to adhere. The financial ramifications were strict. We had to have a certain amount of Garage keepers insurance and no less than their guidelines. It was the same for the wrecker. The amount was astounding, but we needed to cover our customer’s vehicles when being towed and cover ourselves in case of an accident, and for our peace of mind.
Then there was the rent, utilities, and the parts that needed stocking. Therefore a certain amount of work had to be done and outed to cover the overhead and keep the business profitable. So work these guys did. They were respected and did quality work.
My husband insisted on a clean workplace, safety first. At this time our two eldest sons and a friend worked for him. At the end of every day, the work area cleaned as well as each bay. Upfront, the office was my area. It was kept clean and welcoming.
As I said, our older sons worked for us and were very dedicated to their dad and the business.
A little story of dedication here: They and some friends drove to the beach for a weekend. On Monday morning, I walked into the garage and glanced at my eldest son Daryl, whom we lost to stomach cancer in July 1996 at the age of 32 years. I started on, then stopped turned and looked at him. To my shock, he was standing in two buckets of ice water. He had gotten sunburned at the beach. I had him get out of his ice-shoes and come with me to the emergency room. He wanted to finish the work he was doing, but on we went. He had sun poison. He insisted he go back to work, and I insisted home, reluctantly, he did. I would call that dedication!
Our children, we taught to work. If you want something in life, you have to work. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. I do not mean that literally, it is just a saying, meaning if you do not work, you will never have much.
As my husband wound down our third child, Todd and later his son Evan, morphed the garage into a speciality business. They now restore old and classic Mercedes-Benz, especially the 180s. He invented the machine that they could test brakes before putting them on the Mercedes cars. There was an article written about him in one of the Mercedes magazines. He does fabrication, bodywork, and much more. This business is his now; he does things differently than his dad but carries on the family love of cars. His passion is the old classics from the 50s and 60s, cars his dad was into, and the first styles Todd and Daryl owned when they became 16. Camaros, Corvette, all the muscle cars. I know there were Ford cars, but my boys were Chevrolet men.
We are now in the Towing part of the business. All of us, at one time or another, had a hand in driving the wrecker. Whoever was available at the time a call came through, would take it during the workday. Be it Highway Patrol with an accident, a customer, anyone wanting a car moved or towed to another state. After school, our two youngest would come to the garage. Their jobs were cleaning carburettors or anything else that was needed for them to do. Kevin, the next to the youngest son, would be the designated wrecker driver for the rest of the day until bedtime.
I want to inject a little story here: One weekend, my husband and I were at a towing association meeting. Kevin took a late-night call. When he returned to the garage, he got out of wrecker, unlocked, and pushed open the gate to the storage lot and pulled into the fenced area and placed the vehicle. While unhooking the car from the wrecker, someone hit him in the head with a ball bat. He said he came up with the jay hook in his hand and kept swinging it. He connected with one of the guys, and our guard dog a Doberman pinscher which I wouldn’t say I liked went after the other guy. He pulled the guy’s shoe off as they ran from the lot. From that night, I had a great love and appreciation for that dog until he left this world. Groggily, Kevin made it back into the wrecker and called my daughter our eldest child, who was handling the call center at home. (We used CB radios at that time, no cells.) Our youngest son Shane took over the call center while his sister, Nikki, called the police and drove to the garage. After the police left, she took Kevin to the emergency room, where he received eight stitches in his head. With stitches, a concussion, and fortified with pain pills, they returned home with the task of keeping him awake. He is doing fine today and helped operate the wrecker until 6 yrs ago when dad hung up his hat, and his keys, and parked the wrecker in the side yard where it sits today.
There are always issues in any company. I have shared some of those I know, associated with a garage or a wrecker service. Neither is an entirely safe business, but are necessary for all who own a vehicle.
I realize there are many types of businesses and many ways of working them. Those who want to succeed know it takes heart, desire, mental effort, and determination. Cars, not being my thing, I chose a different type of business when presented to me. I have ventured into the digital world of cryptocurrencies, and a company called Compumatrix. This a whole new concept for me, but I am enjoying this adventure into mind-expanding technology, with an attitude of optimism

About the author

Carmen is a wife of 59 yrs., mother of five children, grandmother of 10 grandchildren and great grandmother to 6 great-grandchildren. She embraced the world of technology and became a member and a committed advocate of Compumatrix International.

Comments

  1. I loved reading this real-life story of your family business, Carmen. I felt like I was there and a part of your family. How wonderful it must have been to have all your family dedicated and working together in a business they loved. Thank you for sharing and opening your life for a brief moment for a look-see into successful family life, indeed with their share of challenges, yet they overcame! Blessings to you and your family and the entrepreneurial spirit in all of you!!

  2. what a great story and truly a good memory lane read — family is so important to me and very important to many around here — it is so nice to be a part here — life has changed a bunch over the last 20 years or so and it takes effort and bit of trust to keep going forward and succeeding in any business whether on or offline — thank you for sharing a heartwarmer —

  3. How wonderful, a fresh real-life story of a garage and the true meaning of it and all of its troubles. But the whole family involved was such a blessing and made this story of a family so much more!
    I was a mechanic for many years, and though I enjoy it; I wished I had gone the full cup of tea as your family did. I enjoy doing full restorations, and the newer high tech cars.
    Your story shows the trials and troubles of being in business, and we could all learn of devotion from this.

  4. What a great life story and i truly enjoyed it reading it . Also a huge blessing for your husband and the kids that there were able to work and share the same passion for a long time . Nothing better then a well run and organized family business . Yes they overcame us well all the challenges they where approaching at times and that is called teamwork and it can be also the best dream work. Thanks for sharing your personal story with us here.

  5. Love reading personal stories, and yours Carmen was especially interesting. What a joy to be able to provide employment for a good part of your family, and they seemed to really enjoy the business…..and trusting this will continue down for your family through the ages as some drop off and retire. Your husband and you are to be congratulated for setting such high standards and work ethics which your family also absorbed!

  6. This’ a true definition of a Family Business Venture Mentorship. The solidarity of Parents and their Children in business running investments proves a very strong foundation in your family. Congrats for that. Truly, every business Investment has ups and downs. But, perseverance is the key note. Car towing isn’t an easy or safe thing. I normally watch that programme on the CBS Reality. Sometimes you encounter a cruel person. Who wants to harm you on the spot. May your sons always be safe. Taking another business venture to Compumatrix is a so welcomed decision.

  7. Great story of your family business Carmen, I enjoy hearing about another family. I was also in a family run business. My Dad started a furniture store and sold everything that went into a home; floor coverings, appliances, drapes, decorations, etc. We also had the appliance repair side of it, which kept us constantly busy. The towing side of your business could be more dangerous, glad that Doberman was there!

  8. What a fine example set by Carmen, in getting her family working and being productive. We can see the dedication and efforts and proper training , given at the right time. Unity is strength – with each other´s support and everyone working together as one, kept the business going. The love for one another, further strengthens family ties and holds the family well-bound.

  9. Really great true life story! Greetings to you and your family who continued their family business in spite of so many difficulties and it is a great thing that all the members of the family continued the business together.God bless you and your family and this is really great for you and your family part of compumatrix.

  10. Carmen, you have a great way of writing. Just as Gail said, I felt I was right there as well. This story shows level of dedication you must have to maintain a business in the brick and mortar world. With you ending with your Compumatrix business, this shows a means of streamlining your life into a more simplistic pace.

  11. Great story and great writing Carmen. You have a gift of writing. I know that all of the things that you learned in the wrecker service will carry over to your new crypto business with Compumatrix. It’s amazing how all the little things we learn along the way simply dovetail into the next phase of our lives. I think God plans it that way for all of us. Here’s to a bright future for you !

  12. awesome reading thru the replies to go with the story from Carmen — patience and trust are so important in all we do — not just in business but so true in life and everyday in all our activities — truly believe that actions and truth are the catalyst to success and also peace in our sleep and joy in life — just a great read no doubt — thank you —

  13. Thanks for sharing with us. This blog is a reminder that life is short and we all need to respect every minute of every day. It appears your family knew would it took to be successful. The best predictor of future success is previous success. I believe this can be applied no matter what the industry. We all look forward to seeing your business flourish.

  14. Thank you Carmen for sharing with us your family business history.
    From the good to the hard times you took the right path that leads to success.
    And now lies before you a new business, something you never encounter before, but not to fear for you have the experience and the knowledge that you require to face the challenges but at the end, will bring good fruits of your labor.

  15. I enjoyed your story and thank God there is people out there with wreckers I have needed one several times in my life, even in the middle of the night in a rough part of a bad city during a ice storm. It takes determination and courage to run a company like that I am sure you could probably write a book about all your experiences with the business.
    Running your new Compumatrix business will be a lot different I wish you success on this venture into the digital currency world.

  16. I have thought about this blog since reading it the other day. An old cowboy I knew for 5 months between 1984-1985 lived between two times. He often mentioned he was born 100 years too late. His demeanor would have him fit perfectly into the late 1800’s. Life back then was more family occupational driven. If you were a farrier, you passed that profession down to your son and so forth.

    I didn’t grow up in an entrepreneurial family. Since I was 12 years old, I always looked for a means of being independently engaged in business. I sold Christmas cards door to door. My family always pushed the importance of having a job. I always pushed myself to have an independent source of income on the side. Eventually, I found my way online and the ultimate goal has been Compumatrix.

  17. That’s a great feel good story. Thanks for sharing the work ethic that you instilled into your children. I would imagine they will teach their kids a similar ethic. No age is too young to start teaching kids the value of hard work and that in life nothing is free. We have to work hard even when nobody is looking. The same is true for Compumatrix, its taking a village to make sure everything is on track. I know many, many people are working hard to get this moving.

  18. Your story has reminded of a family my friend used to stay with them, they are blessed to have had a father who really cared about their future and also a mother who is elderly and she doesn’t understand much of the happenings, the dad put a rentals that do bring good income before passed, now they fighting over it, same blood they cannot sit down and agree on anything, sad that what is happening its not helping any of them, this was great to know families can still work together a succeed.

  19. Growing up in the fifties was totally different than today. Having grown up without a father life was very different. I learned to fend for myself early on doing whatever it took to be able to buy clothes and most importantly food.

    My mother worked in a supermarket full time and made just enough to pay the rent and try and feed four growing sons. Fortunately most of our neighbors were working class and took care to make sure I was invited to parties, dinners and when they took their children to the city (NYC) or to the beach, I always got invited.

    I was fortunate enough to grow up with many of the NY Rangers hockey team who came to our apartment complex every fall. My hero’s all of them. I always had ice and roller skates, a uniform and went to many games. They were my inspiration and became a driving force in my life, one that I carry on my shoulders today.

    We all get to pass along things that are important, “old people” give advice whether you want it or not.” I used to tell my children “you want it you work for it.” It stuck, both are doing well.

    We get older everyday and our group of CompU teammates seems to get closer. We all have the same reason for being here, money, friendship and we want to see this program move to the next level. Thank you Carmen.

  20. Thank you Carmen for an excellent blog. All the family working together to keep the business alive and thriving,dedication of your children is commendable and feel for the loss of your son to cancer. But you all have come through the hard times and difficult situations at times and are all the better for it.Now concentrate on Compumatrix which seems the ultimate and rewarding business for all of us.Henry be thanked for that.

  21. What I loved about this article was the heart in it! I loved how dedicated you and your family were to something you were passionate about. This reminds me that if I want something, I need to work hard for it and never give up. I think it is about putting in the little bits of work that seem insignificant that soon equal something big!

  22. This is a great blog post about businesses and family ties Carmen and I agree with you that it is in general not always easy to manage. It is good to know that for you and your family it worked well. In my life, I have seen many family businesses that had to stop because the family ended up in disputes and disagreements about the direction of the business and even caused family feuds that lasted for years.

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