Tory Greer has found camaraderie and support as part of the oil change franchise.
Tory and Leslie Greer opened their Grease Monkey® business in Webster, Texas, in June 2020 — about three months after the COVID shutdowns began.
“I signed the lease on February 5 — a month before the pandemic. Everything was done, and then everything just shut down. It was around the last of April when they were deciding what businesses were essential,” says Tory.
Fortunately, demand for auto service was resilient and despite the rocky start, the business is doing well. Their family is even joining in.
What were you doing before owning this franchise?
Tory: I was working at Verizon Communications as a fiber fusion splicer. I was out in the street — on poles and underground. I did that for 20 years.
I’m also in the Air National Guard. February was my 30th anniversary in the Guard, and I retired then. I was in Afghanistan in 2019, and when I came back, I started looking at Grease Monkey.
I didn’t know if I wanted to go back to my job. I was ready to do something new — I was bored at Verizon. My wife and I knew that we wanted to do something of our own.
How did you find the Grease Monkey brand?
I’m originally from Tennessee. There was a Grease Monkey in the neighborhood in Jackson where my parents live. I thought that would be neat. I like cars and have always worked on my own car.
I called and asked to talk to the owner. Justin is the franchisee, and he called me back within an hour. We talked for about 40 minutes, and we spoke a lot from then on.
It was funny when we got to talking. I had a dealer license to buy one or two cars and turn them around and sell them, and he had a dealer license, too. Then we learned that both of our wives are accountants.
Everything started falling into place. I decided to apply with Grease Monkey after a few months.
Do you feel like you’re reaching your goals or on your way?
Yes. It’s been pretty good. People are big on family-operated and veteran-owned businesses, and we let people know.
I want to increase my car count. It’s a lot of work. I’m here open to close six days a week currently. I’m fine with that for now.
I’m trying to mold my nephew Skylar Patterson into a manager, so I don’t have to be here all the time. But this is like my baby, and I am having a little trouble letting go. When I fly back to Baltimore once a month for drill duties, I let him run the show for those three or four days.
What kind of support is available from other franchisees? Is there anyone that has been particularly helpful to you?
Justin was very helpful in the beginning. I talk almost every day to Waylon Skrobarczyk (in Friendswood, Texas) who opened two weeks after I did.
Greg Parsons is on the north side of Houston. If I have business questions, I reach out to him and his manager. Someone else from Atlanta reached out to me.
How does the franchisor support your efforts? Are there any key relationships that help boost revenue potential or simplify running the business?
Rick Juarez is the Senior Director of New Center Development & Procurement. He has been a lot of help with getting the store open, and I can always call him.
Rob Cooper is our franchise support director, and he is always helpful. He comes to the store periodically and will give pointers and ideas on marketing.
Is there anyone else we should be sure to mention who might be involved in the business?
Yes, my father-in-law Richard Harris in Richmond, Texas. My sons Jay and Chris and my nephew Skylar, who work here, are learning a lot. They used to help me back in the day with cars. They’re definitely learning.
Knowing what you know now, if you had a chance to start over would you still join the brand?
Yes. I like my freedom, even though I’m here working a lot of hours, if I need to do something, I can just go do it.