Although Juan Zambrano opened his auto repair shop in Santa Fe more than six years ago, his entrepreneurial story actually begins nearly two decades ago as he continues to grow his business and other skills.
Mr. Zambrano was servicing mostly non-commercial vehicles for individuals before the 2008 recession when the economy took a dive. After closing his shop, he applied to service buses in the Santa Fe Independent School District. He did well on the tests but he didn’t get the job because he didn’t have a high school diploma. Instead of letting the rejection get to him, he used it as fuel to obtain a GED. After six months of night school and working at Toyota’s service unit, he became a high school graduate.
His learning, however, didn’t stop there. Mr. Zambrano, an immigrant from Mexico, also wanted to strengthen his English skills and communicate more confidently with his customers. He attended Toastmasters, an organization that helps people with public speaking and leadership skills, to improve his communication.
When the economy improved, he started his business again and rented a one-bay mechanic space then shifted a majority of his business to servicing company vehicles like FedEx.
Through hard work and with the help of his three sons who are also mechanics he was able to purchase land near Airport Road. He came to The Loan Fund in 2020 for a small business loan to start building a three-bay garage to allow him to better service large commercial trucks at his business called South Auto Repair Shop.
While the business challenges were many, Mr. Zambrano said he had a lot of support to pull him through.
“The challenges, more than anything, were to overcome the fear of failure and changes in responsibilities, but I have overcome them with the support, first of all, of my family and also that of my clients,” he said. “But more than anything, it was the trust in me and in the support of The Loan Fund, especially Mr. Joaquin Amador, my loan officer.”
The formula for success as he sees it is simple: hard work and client appreciation.
“My business is successful because of the good work we provide to our clients, and above all, we provide it with honesty and respect,” he said.