June 26, 2012 // Franchising.com // ORLANDO, Fla. – Retired pilots David Smith, 68, and John Grassia, 65, met 25 years ago while working for the same company. And even though both remain passionate about flying, the pair has recognized a steady and growing marketplace for automotive services in the Sunshine State. As a result, they opened the first Express Oil Change & Service Centerin the Orlando market this past May.
“I’m thrilled to sign on as the first franchisee in this market and introduce Express Oil Change to the Orlando area,” said Smith. “When I discovered the franchise, I knew I had found the perfect match especially after visiting the company’s corporate location in Birmingham, Ala. Though the company is known for its 10-minute drive-through oil changes, each location also features a full-service mechanical department — making it a true one-stop shop for clients seeking reliable and professional vehicle care.”
In addition to its full-service department, Smith and Grassia say they were drawn to Express Oil Change because of its overall business plan and ongoing support. Smith serves as an instructor for Boeing in Seattle on the 747-400 and the new 747-8. Grassia, a former Airforce pilot and Vietnam Veteran, also is still involved with aviation and teaches Airbus classes in Miami. Smith and Grassia plan to initially hire six people at their Orlando location and look forward to using their backgrounds in management to lead their new staff. The two say they see great opportunity to service individual cars as well as businesses and organizations with fleets of vehicles.
Having flown extensively in the U.S and around the world, Smith says he’s followed trends both nationally and internationally and has noticed that people in the U.S. are driving their vehicles for longer even more so than in other areas of the world. Already a business owner, Smith began doing research on automotive service franchises and was immediately drawn to Express Oil Change.
“Due to the economy, people are driving their cars for longer and need the proper maintenance and repairs to keep them running,” said Smith. “With our extensive backgrounds in managing and teaching—as well as the Express Oil Change family on our side, I’m confident local customers will embrace this business like we have.”
Overall, Express Oil Change sees potential for significant growth in Orlando and hopes to develop 10 additional stores in the market over the next five to eight years. Jacksonville and Tampa are also on the horizon for growth in Florida.