Tales of an Accidental Shop Owner Part 1 in a Series

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Jamie Dodd is a refugee from Southwest Kansas, finding her forever home (unless winter won’t give it up) in beautiful Colorado Springs.  Growing up on a farm and only driving a tractor once gave Jamie the unique ability to run from anything mechanical at a very young age.  So as life likes to be, it’s completely ironic that she is now the proud owner of Autosmith, an automotive repair facility in downtown Colorado Springs.


I love small business and always wanted to own my own company.  I thought it would be something like a law or accounting firm.  But when the opportunity for my husband and I to purchase the business he was working for, we jumped at the chance.  That’s when irony hit.  The business was a mechanic shop.  Anyone that knows me knows that I have refused to change my own oil since I started driving (not something I currently recommend).  In complete honesty, I still don’t change my own oil, but I now know where my drain plug is located (that’s a good start, right?).


So as any person would do, I started envisioning, with much grandeur, how I was going to single-handedly change the way women viewed auto repair.  Like many things I do so well, I dreamed big.  What I don’t do so well is actually implement those dreams.  As a woman, I remember the feelings of frustration when I had to take my car in to a shop.  Luckily my dad was able to keep my oil changed until I got married at 12 (kidding, a lady never reveals her age).  But I do remember taking my car in while I was in college to a couple of different dealers.  Those experiences stunk.  It was either my age, the fact that I was a poor college student, or that I was a woman in Southwest Kansas where they don’t really keep up with politically correct concepts such as women’s rights, equal opportunity, whatever.


Then reality hit.  After much self-talk and endless debates going on in my own head (I lovingly refer to this concept as “crazy-talk”) I realized, I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about cars.  I once described brake rotors to a customer as “those round things.”  She knew exactly what I was talking about and we had a good laugh at my obliviously uninformed description.  I have my husband, and business partner, available to explain the technicalities to our customers.


What I thought was my greatest detriment, was my greatest asset.  I knew NOTHING about cars.  I am able to talk to my customers using real words and in a language they can understand.  My job is not to be the know all of all car things, my job is to be the real person who loves talking to people, making them coffee and once in a while answering the phones.  I became the hidden gem not many shops have.  A woman, a small business owner dedicating her life to empowering other women in business and life.

Jamie Dodd, CPC
Owner, Autosmith Colorado Springs