SEAVIEW — Millie Showers never planned to own a business.
As of June 1, however, that’s exactly what she’s doing.
That’s the day she took over as owner of Box K Auto Repair, taking on the position after purchasing the business from its founder, Doug Knutzen who retired.
“I love the customers and the employees more than anything, and when he said that [he was retiring] I couldn’t imagine somebody that didn’t know them or care about them walking in and taking over,” Showers said.
She’s had plenty of time to get to know her customers. Showers started working at Box K in early 2008 and, for a year and a half, manned the front desk and kept the books for the business. During her time at the auto repair shop, she’s also been able to learn the processes that keep the shop ticking — and that’s critical, Knutzen said.
Box K isn’t the first shop Showers has run, and her past experience has given her some of the skills she’ll need to keep Box K going, Knutzen said.
“It’s not like she’s coming from an automotive technical background, she comes from a business management background and she’s got a lot of those skills that work really, really well,” he said.
Knutzen began looking for a buyer more than 18 months ago, but as soon as Showers expressed interest in taking on the business, there was no other option, he said. Now that it’s her business, Showers said she’s planning to keep it largely on the course Knutzen has set for it.
“I figure, it’s been successful for 35 years for a reason and I learned from a really great person. He’s got it down. He’s been through all the trials and tribulations and he knows what works and doesn’t work,” she said.
Taking on the business hasn’t been without its challenges though, she said. Showers is dealing with a problem that presented itself when Knutzen was still owner — finding qualified employees. The shop pays for training for its employees, but finding the right people to hire has been difficult, Showers said.
“A lot of times we turn jobs down because we don’t have the staffing to get it done in the timeline that they want to get it done,” she said.
A lack of staffing presents a challenge for where Showers wants to take the shop as well, she said. She’d like to grow the business if she can, but that’s not possible without the proper staff.
“Would I love to grow the business? Absolutely. But that would depend on finding the employees and staffing to be able to do so,” she said.
Even facing challenges though, she’s not afraid taking on a business that’s been in the community for more than three decades.
“Nerves maybe, but fears no, because I refuse to fail. I know I won’t fail,” she said.