The Beginning of Jim's Garage Door Service

First shop and trucks

Larry Vail, owner of Jim’s Garage Door Service, was just a young lad when he purchased two trucks from a small business owner named Jim. One was inscribed with the name Jim’s Garage Door Service on the side, a name that had a great reputation in town. Larry decided it was in his best interest to keep it the same and has since answered to the name Jim as well as Larry.

Before purchasing Jim’s, Larry had been working as a handyman at the Red Carpet Hotel. The job taught him necessary skills that he would later need, but Larry knew that the low pay wouldn’t work for his family long-term. One day, Larry’s father asked him if he would be interested in owning a garage door company. He had received a tip that Jim’s would soon be for sale. Larry had never previously considered entrepreneurship, but being a bit of a risk-taker himself, decided to take the plunge. He purchased the company in 1982.

The business began to grow. Many nights, Larry would sit up late, well past his children’s bedtime, returning phone calls and scratching out customer names and addresses on yellow legal pads. A manual pencil sharpener became a permanent fixture in the center of the dining table. He worked tirelessly and was committed to seeing the company succeed. Customer service was always the priority, so much so that one Thanksgiving Day the whole family stopped to fix a garage door on their way to Grandmother’s house while the children waited in the backseat.

It didn’t take long before Larry hired his first employee, moved the business to a larger space, and decided to take on commercial garage door work alongside residential. Larry set a goal to spend his time fully immersed in sales instead of garage door repair within ten years of ownership. He reached his goal.

Jim’s has been thriving for over 60 years, serving residential and commercial customers in Racine area. Alongside Larry, two long-term employees, Doug and Mark, have helped it to evolve and grow. The company now has nine technicians, ten trucks and multiple commercial teams. The iconic red trucks with the white block lettering can be seen all over the city.

From the beginning, providing great customer service has been the mission of Jim’s Garage Door Service and Larry has continued to make it so. Customers are the priority and because they feel that way, they continue to choose to do business with Jim’s over the competition. Larry has weathered many storms over the years and is confidently passing the baton to his son, Austen, who has been working with him in some capacity since the ripe age of 14.

It has been a fun and wild ride. Cheers to many more years serving the Racine community as your #1 Garage Door Repair company. Thank you for your business!

(Pictured: A young Larry (left) stands with his brother, Bob, next to the first Jim's Garage Door Service shop location and trucks.)


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