But a pet store?
Katz said Kaye wanted to do something "to give him some fulfillment during the day," since he isn't involved much in the Midas shops. So the pair began to consider options.
"What do we like to do? What is recession-proof? What is essential?" Katz asked himself. "Each time we asked those questions, the answer was always pets. We love cars, and we love animals."
Katz and his wife Claudia have three pets: A poodle, named Ricky; a macaw, named Lucy; and a shepherd-mix dog, named Jimmy. He gave the blue-and-gold macaw to his wife as a wedding gift — 30 years ago.
"That bird is supposed to outlive us," he said.
The poodle and macaw are named after "I Love Lucy" characters, while the shepherd mix, the newest in his clan, was named after Jimmy Buffet.
Katz said he wanted to be part of a franchise entity, similar to Midas, because of the guidance and support it provides.
He talked with enthusiastic Pet Supplies Plus franchise owners, who sold him on the franchise's ability to be profitable as early as six months into ownership.
"We fell in love with Pet Supplies Plus," he said.
Katz found an ideal location, located about 17 miles down the road from his West Palm Beach Midas store. The new 6,100-sq.-ft. standalone building, with 54 dedicated parking spaces, sits adjacent to a Publix shopping center, near other businesses such as Starbucks, a 7-Eleven gas station/convenience store, a Jersey Mike's sub shop, an urgent care and a dental center.
Once the lease was negotiated — a seven-month process — he shared the news with his Midas team.
"They were all very excited about it," he said. "They thought it would be a great mix to our portfolio."
Katz and Kaye plan to sell pet supplies, including food, leashes, etc., as well as offer three bathing stations and employ two onsite groomers, one of whom will be his daughter. The store will stock everything from birds to reptiles, and it will facilitate pet adoptions with a local rescue organization.
Katz will have to get accustomed to the snakes and lizards.
"I'm a little nervous about the reptiles," he said, noting his daughter owns a bearded dragon he refuses to touch.
During one of his visits to a Pet Supplies Plus store, he saw customers walking with pythons wrapped around their neck.
"All I can think of, it's going to choke them," he said, laughing. "But it's not as bad as it looks."
Katz said he and Kaye have been partners for seven years, and other than holding opposite political beliefs, they have not had a fight.
"Jerry and I make a good team," he said. "(Other than politics), we get along well, we listen to each other and talk to each other and work things out."
He said he has received well wishes from fellow Midas franchisees.
"But they are saying to themselves, 'What the hell are you doing?' " he said. "I love the automobile business. It's in my blood . I'm nervous, but really excited about the pet thing. If I wasn't nervous, something would be wrong with me. But nature took its course, and I have a pet store in the mix.
"I wouldn't have expected that to happen."