SHEPHERDSTOWN – Shepherdstown residents have watched the transformation of the former Chevron station, beside O’Hurleys on Shepherdstown Pike, turn into the new repair shop called Cool Green. The name Cool Green is derived from various aspects of the owner’s career. “Cool” comes from his time servicing vehicle air conditioning and “green” from his personal commitment to helping the environment.
Mike Bean enlisted in the U.S. Army 21 years ago. He went to diesel school and learned to be a mechanic. Mike has worked in large dealerships and small shops. He has seen some great things done and some not so great things, “including environmental atrocities simply done out of ignorance.”
This experience led him to work independently. He wanted to improve customer service, so he picked one product to service – air conditioners – and offered to come to people’s cars instead of them having to come to him. He wanted to simply operate out of his home.
His customers liked his work so much, they asked him to fix other problems, too. After six months of his home business, he realized he needed to expand. A friend mentioned that the old Chevron station was up for sale.
The location had been vacant for years and was in rough shape. Mike blew off the dust and saw potential. He sat in the parking lot and counted 50 cars that went by in just five minutes. That traffic flow spurred him on to make a bid. The previous owners worked with him, and the renovations began.
Mike makes a personal commitment to operate as green as possible. He started by reusing a building and some of its working equipment. He recycles whatever he can.
“In an industry that services cars, which are a large source of pollutants, it is even more important to reduce waste as much as possible” Mike said.
Keeping a vehicle in good condition also reduces pollution, and that’s where Mike comes in.
Another part of his plan is to shop locally. He buys auto parts and business supplies in surrounding towns. Mike was born and raised here and truly feels good about giving back to his community.
Like the time he saw he needed to expand his work space, he is now growing his staff. He hired an apprentice from Wyoming Tech and hopes to hire more mechanics as business picks up.
“After I repair their car, I want my customers to feel like they got their money’s worth,” Mike said.
As part of this full-service attitude, Mike keeps track of the warranties and ensures everything is done on time.
He is an ASE Certified Master Mechanic and knows how to repair engines. Over the past 21 years, he has worked on all kinds of vehicles – foreign, domestic and even military. He is currently working on an entire fleet of snow plows.
Even before the doors officially opened two months ago, cars arrived for Mike to work on.
One young woman’s car broke down a short distance from the shop. She managed to push into the front of Cool Green and then she hurried on foot to work.
On her lunch hour, she came back and explained why her car was there. She was able to drive home that evening. She has returned to have additional repairs done. She was the shop’s first official customer.
Mike also appreciates his supportive family. His wife, Angela, a local hair stylist, hands out Cool Green business cards stating, “Mike can fix ANYTHING!”
Several years ago, he and his wife were listening to a motivational CD. The lesson that resonated with them was, “Take a look at your product and ask yourself, ‘Would you buy it?'”
Mike’s product is an experience. Since he is a one-man operation, he needs to pay attention to all the aspects of the trip to the mechanic.
He provides a clean waiting room with free coffee and TV. He offers quality BG products and a reasonable labor fee at $58 an hour. He gives itemized receipts, so customers know what they spent their money on. He builds good relationships with his suppliers, neighboring businesses and the community.
Mike strives to make Cool Green a place where customers can bring their cars for routine maintenance or drastic repairs. Mike also is looking forward to adding state inspections to his long list of services and to make his place a “one-stop-shop.”
Cool Green will host an Open House on Oct. 16. There will be hot dogs and entertainment for the kids, a chance to chat with the previous owner, Bill Trail, and more.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-535-6845.