After working 20 years in the automobile industry for larger companies, John Gronau decided it was time to put his talents to work, and go into business for himself. In February 2014, Gronau took the leap and opened 5th Street Auto Sales in Ogden Utah and hasn’t looked back.
5th Street Auto Sales is a used car lot that offers automobiles at a great price, and treats its customer’s right. Gronau has always said customer service is a high priority, and his customers have learned he means what he says. On two separate occasions, customers brought back their purchased vehicles with minor concerns. Gronau made the repairs himself and provided the needed parts to both automobiles at no cost. He believes his customers should drive off his lot with a great car and a positive experience.
Gronau knew that opening his new business wouldn’t be an easy task. He reached out to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Ogden, to make sure he was headed in the right direction. The SBDC helped him work through his financial projections, fill out lender paperwork, develop a marketing plan, and write a business plan to confirm he was prepared to meet the demands a new business would require.
As to be expected, there were some surprises along the way, but Gronau worked hard and has found a considerable amount of success. “The first year of business has been better than expected. I made a higher profit than I thought I would. It’s been a lot of work, a few bumps along the way, and very time consuming. There’s always something to work on. But definitely worth it,” said Gronau.
Reflecting on his experience, Gronau said, “the SBDC gives you a lot of insight into what it takes to create a successful business, including how much money you’ll need to stay afloat, and the realities of what it’s going to take to earn enough money to make it worth your while.”
Gronau said the most rewarding aspect of business ownership is “working for myself and having the freedom to do what I want, while making a better income for my family.”