Mike Cowans is on a roll that started off virtually 20 years back with an auto physique vocational study course and has accelerated to dizzying speeds in the past pair of a long time.
Cowans owns Massive Mike’s Automotive and Collision on Norton Avenue in Barberton, the place he’s major an growth from just one building to three at the previous Wallace Lincoln Mercury dealership.
His enterprise has more than tripled its revenues — from about $500,000 in 2018 to $1.9 million in 2020. Along the way, Major Mike’s has expanded over and above body and paint work to include mechanical services.
Cowans is self-confident much more growth is on the way. In a several yrs, he mentioned, Huge Mike’s probably will have to open a further locale to hold up with new small business. The progress, he reported, has come at the most hard time possible.
“COVID has been the most important impediment we could deal with and, in the midst of it, we’re increasing,” Cowans, 35, said Tuesday.
His small business is at present under just one roof at the aged dealership. That is not enough house — not even close.
By late summer season, Large Mike’s entire body store operations will shift to an 18,000-square-foot warehouse to accommodate business enterprise from insurance policy firms. The building has been vacant for several years.
“We are likely to deliver it back to existence,” he mentioned.
Another making will deal with detailing and the 3rd, automobile mechanics.
Cowans’ business enterprise begun little, with vehicle renovations in a garage. It was the commence of a lifelong pursuit.
“This eyesight started off when I was 15, 16 years previous,” he claimed.
He took the vehicle entire body vocational route at Garfield Superior College in Akron. A trainer helped him get a task at a area dealership, in which he acquired vehicle detailing and some primer function.
“I liked it,” Cowans said. “As an interior-city kid, you have numerous instructions you could go. For me, this changed my everyday living … it was all about autos at that issue.”
What began with entire body do the job in a garage expanded to his very first place in 2006, a modest procedure in Akron. At the time, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service, driving a tractor-trailer.
In his spare time, he and two staff worked on the cars, setting up a popularity for high-quality perform. The locale in Akron inevitably couldn’t include the development.
About six many years in the past, Cowans mentioned, Large Mike’s acquired its very first insurance policies task, and that started off a period of time of furious enlargement. It leap-commenced his small business to new degrees and has developed to become the bulk of Big Mike’s collision get the job done, now producing up 75% of it.
“The insurance policies corporation inspected the task and explained, ‘You should really sort an LLC [limited liability company],’ ” he stated.
He did, in 2017, and started off advertising and endorsing the enterprise on social media.
“We didn’t anticipate it would choose off as rapid as it has,” he said.
The organization has also landed Amazon as a significant client, restoring harmed corporation-owned motor vehicles from its new Akron location at the previous Rolling Acres Shopping mall site.
At a person issue, Large Mike’s worked on a Lamborghini Murciélago that experienced a scratch down the side. Only 4,099 Murciélago had been built in nine years of generation.
Cowans, said social media and local community involvement are critical features of his small business that have established consciousness of the Big Mike’s brand. They are also a fun portion of the operation, he stated.
“I truly feel like aside from the excellent of our perform, it is the most vital section,” he said.
Every single yr, Cowans and his 22 personnel host gatherings for Xmas and Thanksgiving. The Fulfill Santa Claus party drew additional than 200 kids previous year, and the Halloween Haunted Home scared about 150 families.
There are Friday golf putting gatherings at perform, too, with Cowans and staff members squaring off for bragging rights.
Yet another group function, the company’s most significant, is held in August for kids 5 to 13, pitting groups versus every single other in sporting activities and game titles. Last year, the celebration drew about 350 small children.
“It’s a way for us to get children together, to let them know there are other avenues,” he claimed.
Cowans stated his company has grown his position has advanced from an proprietor who performed hands-on operate every day to an owner handling a booming small business that he hopes to franchise just one working day.
“The most tricky matter I have at any time had to do in this business enterprise is locating the appropriate men and women for the ideal job,” he claimed. “…Everything utilized to bottleneck by me.”
With Major Mike’s present and future growth, he understood that was an unsustainable function product. The tension was way too much for the very long operate – particularly with his 10-calendar year prepare.
In just a 10 years, he wishes to have one more two spots as massive or greater than the Barberton website, with at least 100 staff. He hopes to nonetheless have the time to roll up his sleeves when he wants to check out his hand at the function that obtained him begun.
“Hopefully, I can nonetheless get boots on the floor,” he stated.
He’s also extra golf to his functions — do the job and golf.
But it’s the business enterprise that nevertheless drives him, and he doesn’t foresee at any time allowing go of the wheel.
“This is my baby,” he mentioned. “This is my little one, and you never allow any one take your baby.”
Depart a information for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or e-mail him at [email protected] Abide by him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.
At a look
Identify: Big Mike’s Automotive and Collision.
Owner: Mike Cowans
Tackle: 571 Norton Ave., Barberton
E-mail: [email protected]
About the sequence
All through the thirty day period of February, the Beacon Journal is profiling Black-owned companies in Summit County. Go through additional of these profiles at https://little bit.ly/3jb0h1e. The Beacon Journal will proceed to emphasize minority-owned organizations as aspect of its ongoing standard coverage.
Have a suggestion for a enterprise to aspect? E mail us at [email protected]