A Rose is Blooming in Antioch

Mike Rose's Auto Body transformed a formerly blighted corner of 10th Street and Auto Center Drive.

By Ray Faulkenberry

With all of the publicity that businesses and corporations have gotten over the last several years from “cooked” books, golden parachutes, and excessive profit taking by management, it was very refreshing to get to spend some time with a business that is doing it right – Mike Rose of Mike Rose’s Auto Body.

I was fortunate enough to get to sit recently with Mike and his son Brennan in their new store on the corner of 10th Street and Auto Center Drive in Antioch. Not only is the facility cutting-edge and beautiful, it has taken a beat-down, vacant spot and turned into a beautiful testimony to smart business and good planning.

It’s funny in that I didn’t start out this interview looking to be doing what seems to be a commercial for Mike and his family, but it will probably turn out that way. You see, I’m one of the guys who write about the decline of business ethics, integrity, and compassion. In fact, even after writing my book “The Corporate Samurai,” I still had yet to meet a CEO of a business who fit the model of integrity, honesty, service, and compassion for not only his employees but their customers as well.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Mike’s organizational philosophy revolves around integrity and customer service. It wasn’t always easy and even though Mike and his family now have several successful stores, they still have to jump through hoops to get things done when it comes to working with city governments.

For example, according to Mike and Brennan, it wasn’t until a former mayor of Antioch left office and the new one stepped in that they could come into Antioch and revitalize a vacant and virtually dead corner.

“We had been trying to get in here for over a year,” Brennan said. “But the previous administration thought we were going to build a big high-rise and cause problems. We built a beautiful facility, poured in a bunch of money, brought in jobs, and made this a beautiful corner in Antioch. There was nothing left in here. The place was stripped bare.”

It still isn’t all roses for the family, though, as they are still dealing with governmental politics. They haven’t been given their final clearance even though they’ve been in the space for a year. “It’s funny,” Mike said, “we’ve gotten great support from everybody downtown (at City Hall) except one person.” He pauses and sighs and then a smile comes back on his face. “But we’ll get through.”

The work ethic of the business started with Mike as he originally worked for Jim’s Auto Body, but broke out on his own as more and more friends asked him for help. Brennan remembers nights and weekends when he and his siblings would be down at the shop helping out.

“It’s always been a family business,” Mike said. “In fact, I know that Brennan and his sister Ragen (Ortland) will take the business well past where I could have ever taken it.” That encouragement and confidence in the core management team is evident as they rarely, if ever, promote outside of the company. They groom their people to move up and take on new roles and responsibilities.

One of the things that I asked about was their community involvement and if that was important to them. “Absolutely,” Brennan said enthusiastically. “We do a lot of the basics like sponsor soccer, volleyball, and little league teams but we also have something called the benevolence program.”

Unsure of what that was, I asked Mike to provide some details. What he shared comes right out of the textbook of great business practices: “We donate around 25 cars a year in which we have our employees sign and volunteer to work on these donated cars. They do it on their time and they do a great job. We get our vendors to also donate to help make the car as beautiful as can be. We have a very simple little process in which people write in and explain why they are in need of a car and many are awarded one of these beautifully restored cars.

“We usually do it around Christmas time, and we bring in our employees and we call the families who won. The call is put on a speaker phone so everyone can hear. The excitement, gratitude, and tears are felt by not only those who win the car but also the employees who get to hear, feel, and witness what it is like to be a part of helping souls who truly need a break and feel that heaven answered their prayers when they get the call finding out they’ve won. There is not a dry eye in the house when we make those calls.”

While every business has its ups and downs, Mike and his family are building a business that is rooted in the right things. I hope that Mike and his style of business become common-place in a world where gouging the customer for profits, hoarding one’s profits and misrepresenting oneself appear to be the norm. As someone who provides free business analysis, I found this to be one business in which I don’t need to make suggestions.

Ray Faulkenberry, Ph.D. is a business analyst, consultant, author, coach, and entrepreneur and can be reached at www.rayfaulkenberry.com or rayfaulkenberry@comcast.net.

What the site used to look like.

the attachments to this post:


Mike’s Auto Body after

Mike’s Auto Before

No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply