SEBASTIAN, Fla.—Since opening Coastline Tire and Auto Air Center on Feb. 1, co-owners Michelle, 28, and Michael Dees, 30, are finally beginning to see their hard work pay off. The married couple has spent most of the last two years planning and building their dealership in Sebastian, a small town on Florida's east coast.
``We're doing better than any of us, including our families, expected,'' Mrs. Dees said.
Sales in the first five months have exceeded expectations. She and her husband are hoping to gross ``just under a million (dollars) by the end of the year.''
The couple built the six-bay shop from the ground up after researching a number of sites for growth potential.
Mrs. Dees said her grandfather, a retired contractor, suggested they start the business, because he was impressed with Mr. Dees's ability to repair autos.
``My husband has been a mechanic for 14 years,'' she said. ``And I love a challenge.''
Coastline Tire's major tire line is Cooper, and it will soon add the Maxxis brand. However, automotive service—especially air conditioning work—represents about 60 percent of sales so far.
"We also have an alignment rack to handle extended wheel bases," Mrs. Dees said. This allows the dealership to provide tire and wheel service to the many potential customers in this seaside tourist and retirement community who own recreational vehicles, she added.
If the business is running smoothly by fall, Mrs. Dees said she plans to resume studies at Barry University in Miami, where she is a couple of courses short of earning a master's degree.
After graduation, she plans to start her own practice, on a part-time basis, as a licensed school psychologist.
The rest of her time just might be spent at Coastline Tire. After investing the effort it's taken to learn the tire business, Mrs. Dees has decided: ``I enjoy it.''