LAS VEGAS — Just about 10 years ago, Kathleen Jarosik made herself a simple promise: No matter what, she was going to fight.
As the new owner of Xpertech Auto Repair Inc., she was taking her first steps down a road she never in her wildest dreams would have believed she'd be following. This wasn't her dream — owning an auto repair and tire shop. No, this was her ex-husband's dream.
And yet here she was, living it, taking hold of it and shaping it into a dream all her own.
"Twenty years ago, if you had said this is what I would be doing and that I would smile every day and love it, I would have laughed right at you and said 'Yeah, whatever,'" Ms. Jarosik said.
"I didn't even know how to spell carburetor, let alone find one. It just goes to show you that you never know where you are supposed to be."
This industry, Ms. Jarosik said, is truly where she's meant to be.
That was affirmed when, less than a decade after taking full ownership of Xpertech, she was named Woman in Auto Care (WAC)'s Shop Owner of the Year. She was honored during an Oct. 31 ceremony in Las Vegas during the 2018 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).
While the award was truly unexpected, Ms. Jarosik said it is surely treasured.
Fifteen years ago, Ms. Jarosik and her husband purchased Xpertech Auto Repair, a small, full-service auto repair and tire shop in Englewood, Fla., about 30 miles south of Sarasota, along the Gulf Coast. A certified Napa Auto Care Center established in 1979, the four-bay store seemed like a perfect fit.
"It was something that was really my former husband's dream," Ms. Jarosik said. "The next step in his career was to be a shop owner."