Since May 1999, Ken Campbell and his wife Roberta and son Nathan have owned and operated Ken's Auto Repair at 1250 6th Street in Crescent City.
Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Roberta: Ken's been a mechanic for over 30 years, and of course he taught Nathan since he was old enough to hold a wrench in his hand. We've had our business here since May of 1999. We do oil changes, tune-ups...
Ken: We do all kinds of auto repair. Because this area has a low population, you can't specialize, you have to do everything.
Nathan: Everything except for air conditioning work, pretty much. Lowering kits, all manner of after-market add-ons.
Ken: We like to specialize in four wheel drive modifications, lifting, making them trail ready. We also specialize in chassis work, suspension, alignment, and brakes.
Nathan: And suspension modification.
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
Ken: It's been my line of work all my life.
Roberta: We just saw an opportunity. We bought the building. We knew we had the expertise as far as mechanical skills. When we first started, we decided if we couldn't make it based on the qualities of integrity, honesty and quality workmanship in the first few years, we would just close the doors. We know how hard people work for their money, so we keep our prices fair.
Q: What training or education did you need?
Ken: I apprenticed under my uncle back east.
Roberta: And he has seven years with Les Schwab.
Ken: They have good training for suspension, front end alignment and brakes. They give you certification.
Nathan: We take any training courses that we can that come along. We have to continually educate ourselves.
Ken: For instance, Carquest has held classes in ABS brakes and other things, and there's one coming up on tire pressure monitoring systems. Also, the new equipment has training software with a troubleshooter that guides you so you can familiarize yourself with a problem. Plus we're online and that helps also.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
Roberta: We started with a handful of customers and we have new people walk through the doors all the time.
Ken: They're usually sent by three other people, so that's a good report.
Nathan: We're just doing the best job we can, and charging a fair price for it, and backing it if we do make a mistake. Being honest with the customer has carried our business as far as it's come. We like to show our customers the broken parts even if they don't understand what they are, so they can feel more comfortable with what we've done.
Q: What advice could you offer to budding entrepreneurs?
Roberta: Sometimes you have to take the risk and go the extra mile, even at your own expense, when you first start your business. It's not easy, it's hard work.
Reach Christine Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org.