Shop View: Rick’s Automotive Inc.

Aug. 4, 2023
This Springfield, Missouri, shop has all the customer comfort bells and whistles.

Shop Name: Rick’s Automotive Inc. 

Owner(s): Rick and Karen Hughlett 

Location: Springfield, Missouri

Staff Size: 44 

Shop Size: 28,000 square feet

Number of Bays: 28 

Average Monthly Car Count: 1,400  

Annual Revenue: $9.5 million

Rick Hughlett became a shop owner in the most peculiar way in 1980.  

“Before he owned it, he was working for a guy; I think it was like Lee's automotive. The guy took off one day and went to Vegas and was like, ‘Hey, just send
my checks to this address,’” says Travis Comfort, vice president of Rick’s Automotive. 

Rick took the shop over and turned a two-employee run shop in a 2,800 square foot space into a 28,000 square-foot enterprise comprised of three buildings that services general auto repair and fleet repair, which services two local hospitals. 

 Eye-Catching Architecture 

Rick’s Automotive is custom-built from the ground up with high visibility in mind. It pairs a clean stainless-steel exterior accented with red neon lights that rests on a well-manicured landscape.  

"The visibility is beautiful. We have a nice huge display room that faces the street. We have big banners we put in there and we swap them out with different holidays, events, stuff like that,” Comfort says. 

The service entrance is covered, similar to many dealerships, to enable customers to be valet parked. One of four porters then parks the customers' vehicles and provides any necessary transportation.   

“We just tell customers to pull up under the awning, park the car there, come inside the lobby and we'll take it from there. We don't want our customers searching for a parking spot and/or then trying to walk a good distance just to get in," Comfort says.  

Highly-Skilled Team 

Rick’s Automotive has 22 technicians, including tire and lube techs. With the exception of those techs, all of the technicians are ASE certified with most of them at master level. An ASE Blue Seal shop, Rick’s also actively trains apprentices under these veteran technicians to keep the talent pool filled. 

“We have a few apprentices working under season techs that have taken a couple of courses. We do require all our technicians to be certified, so if they want to move up, they’ve got to get their ASE certs,” Comfort says. 

About the Author

Chris Jones | Editor

Chris Jones is the editor of Ratchet+Wrench magazine and host of its companion podcast, Ratchet+Wrench Radio, a weekly show featuring automotive professionals across the auto care landscape.

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