Family business keeps running smooth

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

His grandfather had his own auto repair shop. His father, too.

Robbie Davis, 32, has continued the family tradition, owning his own shop, Davis Automotive, since 2002. The only thing that has changed is its location.

Davis, whose shop had been at 813 E. 11th, now has his business located at 1003B Vine.

"Nicer location, bigger shop," said Davis, who has two employees.

Davis' lease on his place ended Oct. 31, and he moved in Nov. 1. But at first, he wasn't ready for business.

Davis was missing a few key pieces of equipment, including a lift to raise cars.

Now, Davis is waiting on his signs for outside the business. One sign was supposed to go up last week; now, he's hoping today. The other sign won't arrive until sometime next month. Davis also is waiting for his desk and a counter to show up.

Davis has a waiting room in his new location, with a high-definition TV on the wall. That wasn't the case at the old location. Now customers can wait in comfort while waiting for an oil change, for instance.

Davis' business handles most repair work and diagnoses the problem with the latest technology.

"A lot of shops, they pull it in, put parts on it, pull it back out," Davis said. "We do more of the diagnostic end of it."

Davis went to North Central Kansas Technical College to learn the trade. He took classes from his father, who was an instructor there. He got a lot of his know-how from just growing up.

"I've been around cars since I can remember," Davis said. "I was around it every day."

After graduation, Davis worked at the local Ford dealership for four years before striking out on his own at age 22.

He admits to being a little nervous about it.

"Oh yeah, especially being that young," he said.

But business was good right away.

"I had a lot of the (Ford) customers follow me," he said. "Just word of mouth, more than anything."

Terry Schaffer, who owned Schaffer Body Shop & Used Cars until he sold the business last spring, had the building on Vine built. He leases half of it to Davis, and he uses half for storage. Down the road, the possibility exists for Davis to take over Schaffer's half of the building.

"If it takes off and keeps growing as it should, I'll be needing the space, I hope," Davis said.

The business is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.