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Faith-based automotive repair franchise comes to Lakewood Ranch area

The franchise owner says he wants to bring more transparency to auto repair.

A car is suspended in the air for maintenance at Christian Brothers Automotive. (Photo by Ian Swaby)
A car is suspended in the air for maintenance at Christian Brothers Automotive. (Photo by Ian Swaby)
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Brad Copland, as a customer, said he never understood the recommendations he was given when he went to an auto service shop.

It didn't seem to him those businesses offered any kind of transparency.

He thought he could do better, so in June he opened a Christian Brothers Automotive franchise at 11930 S.R. 64 E., Bradenton.

“(Being) neighborly is high on the list,” he said of his company’s principles. “Transparency, excellence, joy. Those are core values of the system as a whole, and those are things we share with others.”

He said the company offers the basic services to be expected from an auto repair shop such as repairs of brakes, a coolant flush, or the changing of a water pump.

“It's how (the customers are) treated, and the confidence that we can instill in the customer that's going to be different,” he said.

The organization bills itself as a “faith-based” auto repair company, incorporating faith-related elements into its branding and promotions. Copland described its mission as being “to provide ethical and excellent automotive repair maintenance; to glorify God.”

Christian Brothers Automotive was founded in 1982 in Mission Bend, Texas, by Mark Carr.

Copland said the company’s religious nature just means it has a chance to show its beliefs by example.

He said the company has created a different type of environment.

“Coming out of corporate America, into this system, it was a very different experience culturally,” he said, noting that religion actually is encouraged more openly within the company.

He said when attending meetings at the company’s main office, which is located in Houston, he will see employees engaging in prayer.

Copland, who formerly worked for Coca Cola Co. as a director of financial strategic analysis, said he settled on the location to franchise after examining many different businesses. He liked the community and how his new company with a set of values would fit into it.

Having grown up in Texas, he initially wanted to buy a franchise there, but he eventually decided Lakewood Ranch was the place he wanted to call home.

He was also impressed by the demographics of the area, which he said included high levels of growth and was attracting families. He liked the location alongside State Road 64, as well as the adjacent apartment complex, Summerhouse Lakewood Ranch.

Natalie Turley services a car at Christian Brothers Automotive. (Photo by Ian Swaby)
Natalie Turley services a car at Christian Brothers Automotive. (Photo by Ian Swaby)

He said the future will decide the success of the business.

“We're getting our bearings, and getting our routines down, because it is a new environment for everyone,” he said.

He said the process of servicing cars is thorough and designed to make sure that the owners have a full understanding of what is taking place.

Technicians put together a digital presentation that is offered to customers to help them understand what it is being recommended.

For instance, a coolant flush, a regular procedure designed to replace the coolant that reduces corrosion and rust in the engine, would have its full process and benefits thoroughly explained.

Employee Natalie Turley, a Lakewood Ranch resident, said she has worked with the Christian Brothers franchise for four years at other locations. She said the organization prides itself on its work.

“My work is a representation of myself, so I always try to adhere by the manufacturer's specifications and by their regulations,” she said.

Employee Roberto Torres, from Palmetto, said he used to work for a competitor in Riverview which had a Christian Brothers franchise across the street.

“We’ve been busy since day one,” he said. “We’ve been getting busier every day. I hope the business keeps growing and that I stay here for a long time. That’s what I’m looking for, for a place that I can call home.”


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