The Future of Jim's Garage Door Service

Austen headshot

A Young Memory: Austen and the Red Trucks

In Austen’s earliest memory of Jim’s Garage Door Service, he sat on the floor of his dad’s office playing with miniature versions of the company’s iconic red trucks. As he rolled a GMC Jimmy along the carpet, he overheard his dad on the phone, making one call after another, talking about inventory, broken springs, and supplier discounts. Little did he know that one day that would be him. 

Customer Service Excellence: A Family Tradition

In a few short years from now, Austen will take over Jim’s Garage Door Service. It’s a business that his dad, Larry Vail, bought and began building when Larry was in his 20’s. Now Austen, in his 20’s, is eager to continue its tradition of providing excellent service to Racine and the surrounding areas.

“My favorite thing about Jim’s is how we take care of our customers.” Austen says, “We always make things right. It’s our famous service that has led us to be so well known in the area. I’m very proud of that.”

Starting Young: Austen’s Early Years at Jim’s

Austen began working for Jim’s when he was 14 years old. He started by sweeping the floors of the workshop then slowly progressed to helping technicians install and fix residential doors. As soon as he got his driver’s license, he was given an old Dually, so old that he remembers needing to loosen and tighten a bolt just to adjust the side mirrors. In this truck he began to answer his own service calls.

Building Skills: Overcoming Early Challenges

“I’m embarrassed to admit it,” Austen says, “but at the time I could only do small jobs like realigning electric eyes. I just wasn’t strong enough to lift the heavy doors.”

(Let the record show, that now he is and does so swiftly and with expertise.)

Enjoying the Work: A Varied and Fulfilling Career

Austen found that he really enjoyed working for Jim’s. He liked that each day was different from the others, that his work took him all around town, and that he interacted with friendly customers. Once he began installing commercial doors, he appreciated the challenging work and the opportunity to see the innerworkings of large companies. 

Balancing Education and Career: Committing to Jim’s

After high school graduation, Austen began to think of Jim’s as a long-term career option. While he studied to get a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee, he would often come home on the weekends to work at Jim’s. He would even fix garage doors in the mornings before he attended his classes. After Austen received his degree, he came home to Racine to work full-time for Jim’s.

Rooting in Racine: Building a Future

It didn’t take long for him to buy a house and plant roots in the city that he loved, doing the work to which he felt called.

“I like working for the family business and I’m enjoying getting connected in the community.” He says. He’s committed to streamlining systems, upholding Jim’s great reputation, and implementing strategies to ensure its growth in the coming years.

Looking Ahead: Expansion and New Opportunities

Austen foresees the company staying true to its Racine roots while expanding into new markets and possibly offering new products and services. He also looks forward to the day, in the not too distant future, that he’ll watch his son or daughter playing with trucks on his office floor while he makes phone calls. 

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