Tampa Bay Auto Doctor of Hillsborough County
In 2013, Josiah Hernandez and his brothers decided to open Tampa Bay Auto Doctor, a local auto repair shop in South Tampa that provides everything from auto repairs and oil changes to engine swaps. Hernandez had a background in business, while his brothers were mechanics. That’s when they decided to combine their skills to create the family-owned business.
However, after eight years of operation, the landlord of the building that the company utilized suddenly stopped leasing to them. That’s when Hernandez immediately started looking for U.S. Small Business Association loans that could assist in moving the business to a new, bigger location. Hernandez came across the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, where he was connected with business consultant Brad Mix. Mix was able to help Hernandez map out financial projections and reports that would help get the business into a new location.
“The Florida SBDC at USF helped us to secure the SBA 504 Loan, allowing us to purchase the new property that we are at right now,” Hernandez said. “Without it, we probably wouldn’t have even made the purchase with a traditional loan, so it was very beneficial for the company to be able to acquire that loan and obtain the property.”
Once Hernandez and his team made the move to the new location, the business began to flourish.
“Our sales doubled compared to where we were in our old building,” Hernandez said. “We had a lot more business, and we adopted new customers. The Florida SBDC at USF not only helped us secure a loan, but also helped us long-term. Now that we have been here for over seven months, those numbers are still increasing every single month.”
Although the effects of COVID-19 still lingered in 2021, Hernandez was grateful for his partnership with the Florida SBDC at USF because they were able to give him a firm foundation for the new location.
“Well, COVID-19 had a huge impact,” Hernandez said. “There were moments when it was hard, but the Florida SBDC at USF came in and was able to help us see there was a chance for us to increase our numbers.”
Moving forward, Hernandez is very excited to see what’s in store for the family business, including the possibilities of opening up additional locations with the help of the Florida SBDC at USF.
“I hope that the Florida SBDC at USF can continue to help us in the future, especially since I have a mission to grow and maybe open a second location in another area,” Hernandez said. “So hopefully, when the time comes for that, they will be able to help. They have what we need to continue growing our business forward. It helped us tremendously, and I am eternally grateful because we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for them.”