Shop View: Busch Auto Service Center
SHOP STATS: Busch Auto Service Center Location: Palatine, Ill. Owner: John Busch III Average Monthly Car Count: 365 Staff Size: 2 main mechanics, 3 tire/oil changers, 2 office workers, 1 salesperson, 1 owner/operator Shop Size: 4,000 square feet ARO: $224 Annual Revenue: $1.1 million
Family legacy, family values
In 1944, John Busch I began building Busch Auto Service Center by hand. Over 75 years later, the building is still upright and the business is still in the family.
The shop consists of four racks, one alignment rack, and 9 bays, as well as an office and showroom that were added on to the building in 1962.
Busch Auto has been family owned since 1946 and is currently run by John Busch III, who took over the shop from his late father in 1991 at just 22-years-old with the goal of running the shop to the same high standard that his father and grandfather had before him.
Busch’s three older sisters have also worked in the business, and one of his main mechanics is his nephew.
“Family businesses aren’t common anymore,” Busch says. “My father and I didn’t agree on a lot of things, but he taught me old-school values, and those are what keep this business going.”
Honesty is the best policy
From the moment they step into Busch Auto, customers are treated with friendliness and respect. Numerous customers have praised the service center’s prompt service and reasonable prices.
The staff is courteous and willing to go above and beyond, such as driving a customer to work after they drop their car off at the shop in the morning.
“I think our strong suit here is honesty and respect,” Busch states. “We only fix what we need to fix, and we always treat people with respect. If you treat customers how you would want to be treated when you walk into a business, they will come back.”
A Beloved Holiday Tradition
In 2006, Busch began a tradition of his own, setting up a train around a tree at home during the holiday season. Eventually, the setup got so big that he started setting them up at the shop.
Every year since then, the Christmas train display has grown.
Now, the display is almost five feet tall with five layers of running trains, light-up houses, trees, and people. Last year, it took up a third of the shop’s store space.
Busch begins setting up the trains during the last week of September in order to have it ready in time for Thanksgiving. Then, he opens the display up to the public and starts running the trains.
All Aboard the Polar Express
Once the display was set up last year, Busch states that close to 200 people came through his shop each Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday to see the intricate holiday village and other Christmas decorations that had been put up.
The set-up is free to come in and see, and during the holiday season, many people come and go through the shop to admire it.
This display is a good way to get a lot of people in the door, though Busch says it’s a crazy time of year anyways, and that’s not why he does it.
"I do it because I love it and the customers love it,” Busch states. “Christmas is a busy time of the year as it is, so I like doing something that lifts people’s spirits when they come into the shop.”