Bob Stout has owned FUERST AUTOMOTIVE for 33 years and
business is stronger than ever!
Bob Stout, owner of FUERST AUTOMOTIVE, started off in the automotive industry when he was just 18. That’s when he became a Service Manager for a local chain. The shop was a six-bay, repair shop and Bob says, “Of all their shops, [his] shop was always in 1st or 2nd place in gross sales.” Being very successful so early in his career, he knew that there was no question about it – he would own his own auto repair shop someday. He just didn’t know it would happen so fast.
At the ripe age of 25, Bob opened his own shop in Broadview Heights, Ohio, a beautiful, leafy upscale suburb of Cleveland. Bob describes the area as having “great community leadership.” FUERST AUTOMOTIVE is very active in the community as well, donating to the city and local schools and offering special services to local police and fire departments. And Bob takes pride in their great reputation within the community. The business started off as a three-bay shop and later moved into (their current location), a five-bay shop. Just last year, they added 1200 sq. ft. which includes a break room and an office. One piece of advice that Bob has found the most helpful: “Work ON your business not IN it!”
The FUERST AUTOMOTIVE team is very well trained – all techs are ASE certified including 2 Master Techs – and they’re a happy team. “We have a great team of employees who constantly step up to the plate to get things done and have proven their dedication,” says Bob.
Bob is extremely grateful for the amount of support he has received since becoming a DRIVE client. He describes DRIVE team members’ support as “unmeasurable” and says that support gave him a greater outlook on his business. “DRIVE has been dedicated to making our business a success and with that, they have become an essential part of our business circle,” adds Bob.
“Our business has grown in monetary value over the years but more importantly with a sense of family.” – Bob Stout
Having a successful business and a talented team that he can rely on is key for Bob and his wife Sheri. They have gained more free time to spend with their family. Another benefit of this free time is that Bob has been able to focus on his exit plan for retirement. Keeping it all in the family, he plans to hand the business over to his son one day – with the help of DRIVE, of course. He explains, “My son Mitch is taking DRIVE management courses to help prepare for a future of owning the business.” No question about it, Bob says DRIVE has become his “go-to for all things business related.”
FUERST AUTOMOTIVE has been very proactive since the start of COVID-19. Bob quickly hired on a designated team member to call each customer and ask how they were doing and see if there was anything they could help them with. These calls were not sales calls. They were meant to check in with members of the community and simply help their neighbors. This ‘goodwill’ call program has proven to be very successful, so much so, that it will continue and be a part of the shop’s customer service procedures going forward.
Not only did Bob’s shop make sure to take care of their customers in a time of crisis, the shop stepped in to serve the community. After purchasing an Ozone generator and marketing that service to customers, FUERST AUTOMOTIVE began sanitizing an average of 14 police cruisers every week as a community service. Their efforts in the community during this time have not gone unnoticed – their local paper published an article all about their efforts. Plus Bob received a “Thank you” letter from the Mayor and a wall plaque from Broadview Heights Police Chief.
For shops facing challenges during COVID-19 and really during any time of uncertainty, Bob says, “I recommend during these times to think with your heart and take risks in marketing…Be a leader and not a follower!”
Bob certainly knows how much hard work and dedication it takes to have a reliable team and a great customer base, but he says it’s completely worth it. Through all of FUERST AUTOMOTIVE’s success, it is clear that Bob and his team’s hard work has paid off, for the Stout family, the entire
FUERST team and this picturesque Ohio community.
DRIVE is very excited and proud of our June Shop Spotlight – FUERST AUTOMOTIVE – Congrats to the entire team!