The transition to owning an auto repair shop after a lifetime of working in the corporate world might not seem like the obvious decision, but for Dennis Eidson it was.
Today Wednesday, April 6 marks the realization of a lot of hard work and preparation for Eidson, whose new shop, Honest-1 Auto Care opens in Roswell.
The former vice president of professional services at The Nielsen Company in Atlanta walked away from his corporate job of 25 years to embark on a new adventure, one that he had dreamed of his whole life: owning his own business.
“It’s incredibly scary and incredibly exciting,” Eidson said of his new venture. “There are dozens of decisions to be made every day. It’s a lot of work, but it’s great.”
The decision to leave his career behind in favor of becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t something Eidson took lightly, which is understandable considering his former job involved market research. He has spent the last six months gearing up for today’s grand opening, but that was after he already spent nearly four months investigating his options before ever leaving his job.
“I did a lot of evaluation of myself,” said Eidson, who has lived in Roswell with his family for 17 years.
What he realized was that his career at Nielson and the time he spent waiting tables in college proved that he was very customer-centric. On top of that he looked at industries that had resisted the recession for the most part. What he found was his perfect opportunity.
“I wanted to do something that I could use my customer service skills and I looked for something that was recession resistant,” he said.
As a whole, the auto repair industry fit both of those criteria, according to Eidson.
“Shops are usually only interested in fixing cars, not talking to people. And even in the worst days, the industry only showed a volume decline of two percent. Sure, there were businesses gone, but as a whole, it’s recession resistant.”
Still, even finding his perfect entrepreneurial match, he looked for the right company to franchise. He found it in Honest-1Auto Care, he says.
The national company is only six years old but there are 22 stores around the country, the Roswell store will be number 23. Known for quality work, straight talk about needed repairs and environmentally friendly service practices, Honest-1 fit everything Eidson was looking for.
“A lot of people roll their eyes [at the name], but in order to be called that, we have to be fair with customers. We never up-sell them something they don’t need,” he said.
To receive its 100 percent ESA® Certified Eco-Friendly rating, the shop uses a line of fluids that is better for the environment and shuns the use of chemical solvents. They’ve also outfitted the shop in energy efficient lighting and set up a recycling service for all packaging that’s used.
The facility itself is considered to be family and female-friendly because of the nice amenities such as a pick-up and drop off service, upscale waiting areas with HDTVs, an Internet cafe and a children’s play area.
“We want to be a place people know they can come, feel comfortable and trust what we tell them,” said Eidson, who plans for the store to sponsor local events and youth activities.
The Roswell store is only the first of what Eidson hopes will be many Honest-1 stores in the metro area. He owns the rights for metro Atlanta and plans to install 15 more stores locally within the next 10 years.
For now, customers can visit them in Roswell at 1270 Alpharetta Street.