Starting a new small business is no easy task. Just ask the Doug Holloways.
The father and son combination—one a lifelong auto mechanic, the other a retired military fleet manager—were starting up a garage together in Colombia, South Carolina. Getting from the idea of owning an auto business to actually owning it turned out to be the challenge.
The idea started with a need. The elder Holloway has had an auto business for a long time, and the junior Doug wanted to subsidize his military pension and work with cars. Their city had a true need for an automative repair shop, particularly one focused on newer performance vehicles.
To get from Point A to Point B—a modern shop in an older building across from the city’s mall—the Hollways’ Palmetto Auto Repair and Performance had to clear zoning laws at the local level. The greatest hurdle was developing a parking lot that fit the current zoning laws, which Holloway noted
The Holloways also needed equipment, which they found partnering with Direct Capital and finance manager Edward O’Donnell. The equipment financing they received helped them outfit the shop with what Holloway called brand new automotive equipment.
“Ed helped us out so much and was so understanding and helped us find vendors when we didn’t even know what was out there,” Holloway said.
Fast forward to the present day, where the Holloways have their garage up and running, filled with their new equipment and their guiding philosophy of offering affordable service and parts and a personal connection the junior Doug believes many shops don’t offer.
“We’re going to offer them those after-market parts and just more of a close, technical-type person to talk to one on one,” Holloway said.
Given his own challenges with zoning and financing, he advised entrepreneurs to do a lot of research before launching a new business.
“The first thing I would tell them to do is to go down to the local city or county and research everything first,” he said. “Then get ahold of somebody like you guys, because that’s going to give you the capital you need.”
And if you find yourself in Colombia and in need of auto repair, Holloway has some simple advice.
“Give us a call or come by the shop,” he said.
Later in the week, we’ll have a closer look at how equipment financing gave Palmetto a leg up.