SHOP: Ben’s Workshop LOCATION: Austin, Texas OWNER: Bill Morey SIZE: 12,000 square feet
STAFF: 16 (8 techs, 3 front office personnel, 1 parts manager, 3 shop helpers, 1 owner) MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 300 ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.8 million
1) When Ben’s Workshop moved to the hip area of South Congress in downtown Austin, Texas, owner Bill Morey said one of the biggest advantages of the new location was the neighborhood’s daily traffic: roughly 30,000 cars drive by the shop every day. To best attract that traffic, Morey says he purposely built the facility very close to the street, with the signage sitting only 18 inches from the property line.
2) The shop’s signage was also designed to attract customers. The sign is made out of two 12-by-6-feet pieces of steel that have been treated with acid to look rusted. The sign’s letters, which are two feet tall, are made of stainless steel and sit off the steel panels, creating a three-dimensional look. Not only is the signage striking in the daytime, the letters light up brightly at night.
3) The large front windows, which look into the front lobby, were designed to mimic the look of garage doors. Morey says he also wanted to avoid a “cave-like” lobby, so the large windows let in plenty of light to maintain a bright and spacious feel inside.
4) Morey says that many of the surrounding buildings are architecturally unique, so the slanted roof was originally designed by the architect as a way to fit into the neighborhood. The roof was then extended to create an overhang behind the front signage, which is supported by two steel support columns. There are three parking spots underneath the overhang that are used for vehicle dropoff and pickup.
5) Although the property is 1.25 acres, Morey says it is a very narrow, albeit deep, property. By creating a long, thin building (with the short side facing the street), the shop is able to fit 23 working bays and park roughly 90 cars in its lot.
Morey says there is only one way in and out of the parking lot, making control of vehicles easy. A technician can then easily pull the car into the shop floor through the door at the front end of the building.
Upon pickup, the vehicle is driven through the door at the back of the shop and either parked in the gated lot in back or under the overhang in front.