How I Got Started
Hi there, my name is Jeff Matt. I am the owner of Victory Auto Service & Glass. I’d love to share with you how I started Victory back in 1997, in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.
Growing up, I often went with my mom when she had to bring her vehicle to the neighborhood garage. I saw how dependent she was on those guys to take care of her and our family’s vehicle. Seeing that firsthand and seeing how much she depended on them, I thought if at some point I could learn how to fix cars, then there would always be a need for this. There would always be people that depended on finding a trustworthy shop that can take care of their family’s vehicles. Seeing that truly is what got me interested in entering the automotive repair field.
I graduated from technical school in 1989 and started in the field right away. I spent the next several years working at different types of automotive businesses while I honed my skills. I spent time at a tire store, a gas station, small independent shops, and large independent shops. Over those years, I gathered a lot of great experience.
At some point, I got the idea of looking for a business of my own. I imagined being able to open my own shop that would provide the type of service to my customers that I saw my mom receive growing up. I started by looking through the classifieds in the newspaper. Remember those? I ended up finding a small shop in Spring Lake Park that was for sale. I met the owner of the shop and hit it off well with him. To get the funding I needed, I wrote out my business plan on a sheet of notebook paper that I presented to the banker for my loan application. Soon after that I found out that my loan was approved. I celebrated with my young family and made my offer on the business right away. We opened up our very first Victory location on March 1, 1997. My new business was operating out of one of the two garage spaces rented from a small car lot.
Original Dealership Space from Spring Lake Park Minnesota
Getting up everyday thinking about my customer’s experience is what drove my passion. I always enjoyed taking something that was complex and hard to understand and putting it into more simpler terms that anyone could comprehend. You can’t make an informed decision for your vehicle if you don’t know what your options are or what that part you're getting replaced is supposed to do.
Part of caring for my customers' experience included looking at different options whenever there were financial constraints on what someone could afford. I loved helping my customers fix their problems even if we had to find creative solutions like getting used parts, getting rebuilt parts or prolonging certain repairs that could wait until their next visit.
It was exciting for me to get up every day and earn my customer’s trust by providing them a great experience and honest service recommendations.
The approach I took always seemed to resonate with people and I believe is one of the big reasons why we grew and are continuing to grow to this day.
Where I Am Now
My passion for this business still drives me. I am amped up every day and I love coming into work, love spending time with our team, meeting new customers and seeing long time customers.
The complexity of vehicles is only increasing and I am still passionate about making those complexities of the cars, repairs, manufacturing differences and urgency of issues understood by our customers. I love recruiting the best of the best for our team and connecting with employees that are equally as passionate about educating and informing our customers on the best way to take care of and extend the life of their vehicles. I work hard at making sure we equip our team with the equipment they need to provide high quality service.
It's so exciting to see the extension of me that has happened at each of our locations. The culture of each shop truly has a passion to follow the same footprint and desire to help people that I started out with. We really have got a great group of staff that I’m comfortable sending anybody to any one of our shops. Our team puts a lot of focus on making the whole customer experience feel stress free and convenient.
It is important to me that our customers know that they are bringing their vehicles to someone that they can trust. Someone that has integrity, transparency, and just speaks with them truthfully about what their vehicle needs. I want our customers to really sense and know that our team is looking out for their best interest and making the best recommendations.
The thing that still blows me away are the Google reviews that our customers leave us. Seriously, it astounds me that people are willing to take the time and share about the great experience they had. It makes my day, every single time. It never gets old seeing that notification pop up on my phone that we got another 5 star review. I am truly grateful and honored to have such amazing customers.
It is exciting for me to get up for work everyday. I love what we do!