Cheryl Hughes: Next Chapter
Way back in 2010, Pastor Paul Parks was trying to convince his 16-year-old son, Kaleb, that he needed to take a part-time job at New Image Car Care while he was finishing high school. His son’s response was, “Why would I want to do that, I’m not going to be changing oil for the rest of my life.” Kaleb had his sights set on college and a teaching-coaching degree. His father finally convinced him, however, and Kaleb took the job at our shop.
Four years later, in 2014, Zach Deweese was a sixteen-year-old high school student. The Butler County tech school had developed a co-op program that allowed some of its students to work part-time at local businesses. New Image was lucky enough to land Zach. Zach is one of those guys who was fixing cars at five-years-old. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but he has an uncanny understanding of all things mechanical. A couple of months ago, he fixed my Equinox, while it was still sitting in my driveway. You get the picture—he’s that guy.
Kaleb and Zach worked for us until 2016, when Kaleb started his student teaching and Zach moved on to another job in Bowling Green. When they left, I remember saying to Garey, “We will never have another Kaleb and Zach.” I made that statement, because those two guys, as a team, were the best employees we ever had. They worked together in a rhythm that made everything at our place go smoothly. They watched out for our business as if it were their own. They were never petty or self-serving, and that seems to be so rare in many young people today.
During the time they worked together at our shop, they started a side business. When they finished their shift at New Image, they would load up their lawn mower and weed-eaters and head off to their second job. These guys were barely in their twenties and working two jobs. Do you know how rare that is?
Fast forward to November 2021. Kaleb and Zach are back. They will become the new owners of New Image Car Care Center on January 1st, 2022. Presently, they are working with us to gain an understanding of the nuts and bolts of the business. They can do the oil changing, tire-rotating, antifreeze-checking stuff in their sleep, but they are taking November and December to follow Greg and Garey around, so they can learn the how and when of placing orders, making deposits, and doing routine maintenance.
Do you know what feels really good? We are going to be able to leave a business we established, then owned and operated for 21 years, in the hands of two guys who will run it with the same integrity and customer service that is so important to us.
Recently, my granddaughter, Sabria, asked what would happen to Garey’s and my farm after we pass away. I told her it would go to her mom and her Aunt Nikki. “They will probably sell it and split the money,” I said.
Sabria was heartbroken. “No!” she cried, “They don’t ever need to sell it. This is our farm.”
This farm is where she and her Papa raise sweet potatoes. It is where she learned to drive the golf cart up and down the hill to his shop. She rides her four-wheeler here. She has sleepovers with her sister, Laney, and her friends here. Her hard work and her good memories reside here.
I understand. It’s the same way I feel about New Image Car Care. I’m so glad we are leaving it in the hands of two guys who understand what this place has meant to us.
Good luck Kaleb and Zach! You are going to have some hard work and good memories ahead.