The month of February marks the anniversary of an important chapter in the history of both A-1 Custom Car Care, and Seeburg Service Center. Five years ago, on February 9th, 2015, Lois and Kenny Schulte completed the purchase of both brand names, and took over complete operations of all store locations.
Lois recalls the day seemed like a chain of papers and signatures that would never end. It marked the culmination of a journey of twenty-one years, full of hard work, and dedication. She and Kenny were committed to the idea of developing the multiple repair facilities into a cohesive team. One that could elevate the standards of automotive repairs in the area. A team that would focus on encouraging technicians to continually stay at the top levels of education in their field.
Lois started with the company that oversees both brands in March of 1994. She was interviewed three times before being selected to fill an office position at the main warehouse location. With a continuous desire to learn new aspects of the automotive business, Lois found that asking for more responsibilities often led to surprising outcomes. She recalls once, being tasked with consolidating stacks of safety pamphlets, books, and data sheets, into a cohesive, company-wide safety policy. This was her first step into leadership, as she took responsibility for implementing a safety program across all eight stores.
Around 2003-2004, the company Operations Manager, in charge of running those eight stores, expressed a desire to purchase some of the repair locations in Kansas City, and Lois knew there would be an opening to expand into the the role he would be leaving behind.
“The biggest hurdle was how to transition from a person managing day to day office operations, and a safety program; to someone who was managing several store locations directly, and being responsible not just their safety, but their personnel, performance, and general well-being,” Lois said.
From there, when the previous owner began to explore the possibilities of retirement; it was an obvious and sensible move to grant Lois the opportunity to move up and fill the role. When Lois and her husband Kenny expressed the desire to proceed, the sky became the limit!
Noting that she was able to take care of the operation of the company, Lois still needed someone to help with general inventory management, and electronic infrastructure, as well as supply chains to each location. Ever the hero to her and even now, the entire A-1 Custom/Seeburg team, 6 months after purchase, Lois’ husband Kenny chose to leave his electronics and management career of almost 30 years, to help his wife pursue her dream.
Five years later, Lois and Kenny are an inseparable team. They are highly respected by our personnel, and have brought together a diverse group of intelligent, dynamic and skilled individuals. They have honed all of us into a group of thinkers and caring service providers. Through their tireless efforts, they have allowed massive amounts of learning and growth across multiple levels of our company.
At the end of the day, when you think of top tier automotive care; when you think of skilled and knowledgeable technicians; when you consider who is trustworthy, honest, and prepared to act as steward with your second most important investment in life; you think of Seeburg and/or A-1 Custom Car Care. The quiet, unobserved, and humble reason you do; is because of Lois and Kenny Schulte.
See also, the article by Lois for industry publication, Ratchet and Wrench.