It has to go down as one of the oddest business relationships ever, but two Middletown, Ohio, auto service businesses have struck a space-sharing deal they say will save them each thousands each year.
The Middleton Journal reports that the two competitors the owners of the local Meineke Car Care Center and of Integrity Automotive & Tire are now sharing service bay space.
Recently, the Meineke store moved next door to Integrity Automotive & Tire. The building, which is owned by Pete Esposito, owner of the Meineke shop, said by combining resources, both shops will be able to save an average of $2,000 a month in building expenses and equipment.
It’s a “story of survival in Middletown,” Esposito said as he and Phil Quellhorst, owner of Integrity, agreed that the economy has taken a toll on sales.
“People are doing less preventive maintenance on their cars because they are out of work. And if you look at all the car-related businesses that have gone out Jiffy Lube, Car-X, the Score dealership, Kmart I think we are surviving. But this is about long-term survival.”
Esposito invested about $40,000 to add another office to the building so Meineke and Integrity each have their own customer space.
An “invisible wall” separates the bays inside, and each business is restricted to their half. Both have two mechanics that work exclusively for their brand; there will be no sharing of supplies or staff.
Despite the obvious divide indicated by the paint on the building and the different employee uniforms, what makes the partnership work in a competitive market is the owners’ relationship.
Quellhorst was Esposito’s service manager before branching off into a business of his own. Both have shared customers in the past, and plan to do the same in their new space.
“This is a friendly competitor situation,” Quellhorst said. “If somebody needs something right now, it’s a nice option that you have someone you trust and know the quality of their work that can help customers get out quick, which is what they want.”
Courtesy of TIRE REVIEW.