The world needs more thinkers who are as creative and bold as Patrice Banks of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She combined two very different skill sets into one business and made it work.
Bobby Allyn reports at radio WHYY NewsWorks, “Wearing a backwards red ball cap, skinny jeans and high-heel boots, Patrice Banks is doing her thing at the Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby.
” ‘That vroom, vroom noise you hear at a shop is called an impact gun,’ said Banks as she worked on a small blue coupe on a car lift in her garage. ‘It’s connected to compressed air, and so what that does is it removes bolts and nuts and stuff.’
“Spreading the mechanical gospel is in Banks’ blood. Her female-focused auto-shop has just opened up with the goal of empowering women to pop their hoods and get under their cars. It’s Banks’ brainchild, and she hopes the business is the start of a movement.
“Banks quit her day job as a materials engineer at DuPont to become an auto mechanic. … She was sick of being taken advantage of at local repair shops, and wanted to do something about it.
” ‘I felt like an auto-airhead. I hated all my experiences going in for an oil change, being upsold all the time for an air filter,’ she said. ‘Any time a dashboard light came on, I panicked.’
“Girls Auto Clinic is a two-in-one business: an auto repair shop and salon. While you get your car fixed by Banks and her other female mechanics, you can also get a mani, pedi or a blowout.
” ‘That’s what I wanted it to be like, a clubhouse for women, where you can just come and hang out and be around some other dope chicks,’ she explained. …
“Banks wants to take her Girls Auto Clinic concept nationwide. And she says some of her mechanics could be the ones opening up new locations.” More here.
Because combining two ideas appeals to me even more than teaching women to fix cars, I hope the new shops will be as creative. Just think of all the things that could be offered women while other women are repairing their cars: classes, baby playgroups, libraries, small business consultations — the sky’s the limit.
(Grateful to Scott for posting the Patrice Banks story on Facebook.)
The Girls Auto Clinic Repair Center