By Nyesha Stone
After spending eight years as a manager for Midas auto shop, Greg Johnson grew tired of working for a company that cared more about its profits than its customers. Johnson was driving on Villard street when he saw a “for sale” sign, which he thought was strange. It took a few months to get his shop: Mid-City Automotive LLC up and running, and now five years later Johnson’s expanded his business by adding a second garage.
Johnson used to work in big shops, so he always knew he would have to expand. Now he’s able to work on three to four cars at a time instead of two. When Johnson first opened shop at 6801 W. Villard business was slow, but with the word-of-mouth and his homemade flyers, Johnson soon gained a solid clientele.
There were two things that made Johnson’s auto shop stand out from others, according to him: low prices and his kindness.
If someone walked into his shop with an attitude he made it his priority to have that customer laughing and smiling before they stepped out of his shop’s door. Johnson didn’t always have this attitude. It wasn’t until he had a bad experience at barbershop that he decided to put forth happiness. He waited five hours before getting his haircut, and as he was waiting, he saw the lack of customer service. He promised himself that he would never have that same issue with his business.
“I’ve been treating people like I wanted to be treated,” said Johnson. Johnson’s been working on cars for at least 25 years—he’s not sure of the exact number. With the help of his father, uncle and self-teaching Johnson created a successful business for himself.
During his high school days at Bradley Tech, he took carpenter classes and later attended MATC to attain a degree in electronics. Johnson sometimes wonders how he ended up in the auto shop industry when he originally wanted to be a truck driver. Johnson’s father talked him out of the industry, but let Johnson’s younger brother and nephew take on the career full force.
Johnson hardly makes time for himself. He starts work at 8 a.m. with the ending time being undetermined. It’s difficult for him to say no to customers, so he usually has his hands full. Johnson likes to work all day until he can’t anymore and even then, it’s hard for him to leave his work. “I want people to be satisfied,” said Johnson. Johnson likes for his crew members to be dedicated and “people who don’t work for a check,” because once someone works for a check, they’ll try to sell unwanted items to a customer that they don’t need.
In his younger days, Johnson traveled frequently, but now with his business he hardly has the time. Johnson remembers being 18 and before he knew it over 30 years had gone by. Johnson’s happy with the success of his business, but he wants the younger generation to embrace their youth and live life because time flies by.