Thompson went from backyard garage to Entrepreneur of the Year

Thompson went from backyard garage to Entrepreneur of the Year

What began as a backyard procedure has definitely paid out dividends for Culpeper resident Donny Thompson.

Thompson began operating on cars out of his 1,800-sq. foot backyard garage as a side task in addition to his entire-time situation with Chrysler of Culpeper in 2017. Five several years afterwards, he owns and operates Thompson Automobile Fix, which is now situated in an 8,500-square foot making in Brandy Station.

The monumental expansion of Thompson’s operation has not absent unnoticed. As such, he was not too long ago regarded as the Culpeper County Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Yr.

Thompson’s reaction to the honor, which he obtained at the Chamber’s annual awards banquet on Nov. 3, was one of surprise very first, followed by elation.

“We realized my father-in-legislation, Charles Perryman, was receiving [the L.B. Henretty Outstanding Citizen of the Year] award, so my spouse Karah and I have been there for him,” Thompson stated. “When they referred to as my name, I was rather stunned. Then I experienced to battle again tears of joy, because the road to get listed here has been extremely demanding at periods.”

Persons are also reading…

Thompson’s journey to helming his very own automotive maintenance small business began extensive ahead of he begun toiling in his backyard. As a youngster, he was fascinated with quickly autos and what designed them go. That fascination promptly grew into a passion as he figured out the anatomy of an vehicle, and it is flames were being stoked by the point that his grandfather owned a fuel station and automotive restore shop in Warrenton.

“I’ve always been obsessed with general performance,” the 39-calendar year-old explained with a chuckle. “Simply place, I like generating autos go quickly.”

By the time Thompson was 17, he was presently a mechanic, embarking on a prolonged occupation that observed him function for a number of Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep sellers over the study course of approximately two many years.

Then in 2017, he began to very seriously contemplate venturing out on his possess.

“Worst-circumstance circumstance, I figured I’d at least make a pair extra pounds accomplishing something I enjoy,” he recalled. “And then things just go so hectic, so quick.”

Thanks to strong phrase of mouth in the course of the group, issues received so hectic for Thompson that he determined to leave Chrysler in August 2018 to aim entirely on his company.

“That’s a major action, mainly because now you’re on your individual,” he mentioned. “There’s no basic safety internet, and you know your loved ones is relying on you to supply for them.”

Thompson did not have to stress substantially about small business slowing down, even though. In reality, it held choosing up. But by 2020, it was crystal clear his operation experienced outgrown a backyard garage.

“I necessary to uncover a even bigger building, and I wanted to do it quickly,” he said. “And the scariest thing about it was that it was for the duration of the [COVID-19] pandemic, so there was a good deal of uncertainty.”

Luckily, Thompson identified the house he necessary from longtime local businessman Tony Troilo, who experienced an vacant creating readily available for hire at 15051 Jats Generate in Brandy Station.

“The creating experienced no lifts or tools, but it was the room we necessary,” Thompson explained. “It was absolutely demanding even though, because I realized we have been going to have to triple our month-to-month income just to break even with the prices of hire and products.”

Pointless to say, that has not been a difficulty considering that Thompson signed the lease in August 2020.

“It’s been amazing,” he claimed, emphasizing that the organization now companies about 200 cars a thirty day period. “Just the clearly show of guidance from the neighborhood is brain-blowing. The word of mouth has been so tremendous.”

At present, Thompson Auto Fix delivers a assortment of providers, which includes automobile repair service, standard maintenance, motor and transmission replacements, tire replacements, alignments and point out inspections.

“Since moving into this building, we’ve been able to insert tire providers and alignments, plus we’ve turn into a condition inspection station,” Thompson pointed out. “So we’ve actually develop into a one-halt shop for everyone’s automobile requires, which is significant to me, simply because I have set every thing into this.”

Perhaps extra valuable than the creating by itself is the romance Thompson and Troilo have developed in excess of the years.

“[Troilo] has been a mentor and a expensive close friend,” Thompson claimed. “He has given me a ton of tips and steerage on how to successfully run a company that has served me get to exactly where I am at this position, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”