Heights Mobil Car Care
Overcoming Adversity With Steadfastness And A Neighborly Attitude: Heights Mobil Car Care
Heather Mouzourakis has watched countless individuals move in and out of her Houston, Texas neighborhood over the years. The location of Heather’s business — Heights Mobil Car Care, 1622 West 18th Street — has provided her with a front-row seat to our state’s explosive population growth and rapid urbanization.
But that same location has also given her a unique perspective on how resilient communities can be. “People have been trusting us with their vehicles since 1986,” says Heather. “We’ve watched three generations grow up right here in our shop. We’ve repaired grandpa’s truck, mom’s SUV, and her oldest child’s first car.”
Based on the reviews they’ve left online, customers of all ages are more than satisfied with the exceptional service they’ve received from Heights Mobil Car Care. They’re proud to call Heather and her team members neighbors, and they’re as loyal to them as her business is to the neighborhood. “If you’re in the area, this is the place to go,” writes one. Another declares, “If you want top-notch service techs, go here. I would refer them to anyone!”
COVID-19 put that customer loyalty to the test. Before the pandemic, Houston’s 2.3 million residents were constantly on the go: commuting to the office, shopping, dining out, or visiting the city’s many cultural attractions. Suddenly, they were sheltering in place, and their automobiles were staying parked in their garages and driveways. During the spring of 2020, Heights Mobil Car Care’s fuel sales dropped by more than 70 percent. Repair work declined by over 60 percent.
Heather had no choice but to scale back. She cut back fuel sales by two hours a day and closed the repair shop on Saturdays. Although Heather’s decision was financially sound, making it pained her. She hated having to reduce her employees’ hours. Many of them had been with Heights Mobil Car Care for more than a decade. Moreover, they’d stood by Heather during her own time of great need — when her husband Steven passed away in 2008.
Heather recalls that time as being both dispiriting and heartening. “It took me some time to get my head around the idea of running this place. Meanwhile, competitors were trying to poach our people. They said Heights Mobil Car Care was a sinking ship; that ‘the wife can’t do it.’ It’s a testament to Steven and the relationships he built with his employees that they rallied around me and vowed to stay on. Some of them are still here 12 years later.”
Business couldn’t return to normal soon enough for Heather. The first step in that journey came in the form of an email from Heather’s banker. Katie Croasdale of Guaranty Bank & Trust’s Galleria location wanted to make sure Heather knew about the passage of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its $377 billion financial aid package for small businesses. In closing, Katie asked if Heather would be interested in requesting a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and that, if so, now was the time to get her documents in order.
Heather, who had been considering a personal loan if necessary, jumped at the opportunity. Katie and her associates leapt into action. According to Heather, “They worked their buns off for me. I know because I would receive late-night emails from them. At the same time, I kept hearing from other businesses that they couldn’t even get a return call from their bank.” Those email updates ceased after about a week — but only because Heights Mobil Car Care received its badly needed PPP funding.
Now it was Heather’s turn to champion the skilled workers who’d long been the engine of her business’ success. She used her PPP funding to keep them on the payroll (and at their regular hours) until business picked up again. Much to Heather’s relief, drivers began making more frequent pit stops at Heights Mobil Car Care in May and June. “As a small business owner, peace of mind is priceless to me,” Heather explains. “Without it, I can’t focus on the things that really matter, like my family, my employees, and running my business the right way.”
Evidence of Heather’s focus can be found in the fact that she did not rush into fully reopening. First, she researched the recommended safety precautions and talked to her staff about which measures would make them feel safe. Consequently, each team member now wears a mask and undergoes random testing. Repair technicians change gloves with each car they service. Fuel pumps and common areas are disinfected every 15 minutes. For good measure, Heather has also hired an attendant to pump gas for those customers who prefer to remain in their vehicles while filling up.
Heather admits that adjusting to these new protocols hasn’t been easy. But she and the Heights Mobil Car Care team must be doing many things right because the favorable online reviews continue to accumulate. “I give you 10 stars for your kindness and professionalism,” one reads. “Always my go-to service center,” proclaims another.
Heather has her own customer review to share. Of Katie Croasdale and Guaranty Bank & Trust, she says, “She did what she said she’d do. Guaranty wants to be my bank. They take the time to get to know me and my needs. They want to exceed my customer service expectations. They’re invested in my success. I’d send anyone looking for small business banking services to Guaranty.”
You can catch up on the latest activities at Heights Mobil Car Care Center by visiting them on Facebook.
To learn more about the many ways Guaranty Bank & Trust helps small businesses forge lasting relationships with the communities they serve, call our Custom Care Center at (888) 572-9881 or book a video appointment today. Our bankers look forward to collaborating with you on a growth strategy that maximizes your opportunities while minimizing your exposure to risk.