Leonard and Anne Henry have proven that good opportunities can come out of a bad economy.
When the sour market forced them to make some big decisions and consolidate, the Silver Spring, Md., couple chose to leave their automotive dealership jobs and open their own auto mechanic shop. They sold everything in May, moved to their Selbyville home, and opened ’Bout Time Auto in July.
But before they even had their business property on Route 54, the Henrys were working from their car, by making house calls.
“We hit the ground running,” said Anne Henry.
After years in a large dealership environment, the Henrys said they are excited to be independent because it means more personalized interaction with customers. Plus, they can offer lower prices for their experience than a dealership would.
The Henrys are ready to show people that “they’ll get their money’s worth” at ’Bout Time Auto. “You see what people spend [at other shops], and what they don’t get,” Leonard Henry said.
However, Anne Henry pointed out, “Because of our niche, we’re not competing with our neighbors. We take some of the stuff they won’t.”
’Bout Time Auto will service anything relating to the inner workings of the car – everything except bodywork and paint. Foreign or domestic, the Henrys will tackle cars ranging from a 1960’s Volkswagen Bug to a 2010 Porsche, and they aim to finish in one or two days.
“There’s no car we’re intimidated to work on,” said Leonard Henry.
Before this business venture, the Henrys were often so busy with their dealership jobs that there was no time for outside projects. Now that they have opened an independent shop, “Everyone’s like, ‘It’s about time!’” Anne Henry said with a laugh. Hence the name.
The Henrys have found the local community to be quite supportive. For years, people would request repair work while the couple were visiting in town. ’Bout Time Auto now serves a number of those original customers.
Having worked in “every dealership,” Leonard and Anne Henry have 25 years of combined experience in automotive work. He has been manufacturer-trained in at least eight car makes, which means dealerships sent him to the manufacturing company to learn how to officially service those vehicles. His experience is impressive: he has trained throughout the U.S. and in Germany; won two Mazda Master Championships; specialized in makes such as Audi, BMW, Lexus, Porsche, Saab, Volvo and VW; and had experience with nearly every other type of car.
Anne Henry graduated from Delaware Technical & Community College in 1999. As the official owner of ’Bout Time Auto, she is also manufacturer-trained in several makes, and she enjoys working on her own projects to fix up old cars.
“We’re a mechanical family,” Leonard Henry noted.
“We’re nerds,” Anne Henry explained with a laugh.
The shop is a single large warehouse space, which the Henrys like to keep comfortably tidy. In the front, customers can relax in armchairs — or a massage chair — and can actually watch the car repair process in the back of the shop.
“That’s the beauty of being here,” said Anne Henry. “You can hang out and ask questions.”
Although ’Bout Time Auto just opened this summer, the Henrys are making big plans for the future. “We have had a lot of help, and we don’t forget it,” Anne Henry remarked. “We’d love to give back.”
They are considering offering maintenance information sessions for customers who want to learn more about taking care of their cars. Anne Henry is also a veterinary technician, so they want to eventually send a portion of their revenue to animal rescues and other charities. They are also interested in green technology, such as solar power and recycling used coolant.
“We have a lot of ideas. We just have to get through the winter,” Leonard Henry explained.
’Bout Time Auto located at 32971 Lighthouse Road in Selbyville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Henrys may also accommodate for unique situations, such as house calls, pickup or delivery. For more information, visit bouttimeauto.com or call (302) 998-8226.