Have you ever said to yourself, “How did I end up here?” My (Jeff Griffin, owner of Tires Unlimited 1) plans for my life were so different. I find humor in the bumper sticker that reads “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” If you told me 16 years ago – my senior year in college – that I would be in the town of Louisa owning an automotive repair business, I would not have believed you.
I remember in college meeting a person claiming to be psychic. He predicted I would be an engine rebuilder in Detroit. I sneered and thought he was clueless. He was more accurate in his prediction than I would have been. After joining the army to earn money for tuition, I planned to either teach history or practice law. My older brother knew from an early age that he was going to be an engineer. He went to college, got his degree, met his wife, and started his life. I thought that was how life worked.
I should have learned from my father’s experiences that life doesn’t always go as planned. He earned his engineering degree, met my mother, and settled down for the good life. That was until the plant he worked in for twenty years closed. Instead of taking another engineering job, which would have taken our family away from our home where we grew up, he decided to put his life savings into a diesel repair shop. He had no experience in diesel repair but thought he could make it work. I did not know it at the time, but this changed the course of my life.
My father and I would go out on road calls – sometimes late on a school night – and struggle through repairs. It was a challenging and stressful time, but it was great to be able to work with my dad. During those years of working in the shop, I purchased my first set of tools from the local Mac Tool distributor. After several years of ups and downs, the diesel repair shop eventually became a success.
I graduated from college, got married, and moved back to Waynesboro to begin my job search. It did not take long to remember my days in the shop and the Mac Tool man I used to buy tools from. I thought that might be a great career. As it turned out, it was a good career. I spent 15 years selling tools and building friendships with technicians and shop owners. From time to time I would think to myself, “How did I get here?”
I became friends with the owners and technicians at Tires Unlimited. I really felt at home in that shop. One day as the owners and I talked, they expressed a desire to take a break from the business and would consider selling it. One thing led to another and here I am, in a new place. A place I could not have predicted I would be.
These unexpected turns led me to a better life than I could have realistically planned for myself. I am enjoying my new role as a part of the team at Tires Unlimited. My main goal is to provide a better customer experience. One initiative I have undertaken is to improve our waiting room. We remodeled and now offer coffee and Wi-Fi. I also added a state-of-the-art point of sale software that will keep great customer and maintenance records.
Since I have been here, we have been able to serve many great people from this community and will strive for constant improvement. We do a considerable amount of work for the Post Office and have a great relationship with them. We have been privileged to serve the Louisa Police Department and the County of Louisa in various capacities. We can do anything from oil changes and engine swaps to tire plugs, suspension work, alignments, Virginia state inspections and custom exhausts. Of course, we also sell all major tire brands. If we could serve you in any way, please stop by. I would love to meet and complete all your automotive needs.