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Midas Franchise Owner Goes From 2 Shops to 50 in 4 Years. Here’s How.

Judd Shader became a Midas franchise owner in 2009 and has rapidly built a nationwide presence because he sees tremendous growth potential

Judd Shader bought his first two Midas franchise locations in 2009, and he has embarked on a massive expansion. As CEO of The Leeds West Groups, he partnered with third-generation Midas owner Jeff Genuario to expand to 50 stores nationwide, which has quickly made The Leeds West Groups the second-largest franchisee in the Midas system. Why is Judd so bullish about the brand? He recently shared his answer with us.

This is his story.

What attracted you to Midas?
What attracted me to Midas was the opportunity to bring excellent customer service to an industry where good customer service isn’t always a given. People often don’t think very highly of mechanics and auto shops because they’ve gotten substandard service. Midas was attractive to me because it has the strongest and best national brand in the auto repair market. Midas also has tremendous growth potential because we offer total car care. The brand has been so well-known for so long that some older customers think of us as a “muffler shop,” and others think of us as a “brake shop.” That’s how the company started in the 1950s and how it grew in the 1980s and 1990s. Now Midas is doing a great job of delivering the message that we are full-service. People already know us and trust us, and this gives us a lot of room to grow.

You’re certainly investing in the growth potential. Tell us about your rapid expansion.
I knew I wanted to own a business when I was in college, and I bought my first two locations during my senior year at the University of Colorado. I learned very quickly that Midas was a very viable business with a lot of room to grow. I partnered with another franchisee in Denver, Jeff Genuario, to form The Leeds West Groups. I am CEO, and he is COO. We completed a deal in late 2013 for 30 Midas stores nationwide. In 48 months, I went from zero stores to 50. We’re now the second-largest franchisee in the Midas system.

What spurred your decision to grow so quickly?
We saw such great opportunity for new growth in the markets where Midas already operated. It is a brand that was very well positioned for growth. We felt like we could improve the profits of existing stores in Denver, which we have, and could do the same thing in other markets while also opening new locations. That’s exciting. It’s not like a McDonald’s franchise, where there may not be room for five more McDonald’s in the market. Midas still has room to grow in a lot of places, which is great for a brand that is so well known.

One of the things I fell in love with is that with the Midas model, after you master customer service and understand the right way to run the business, you can be successful with one shop or you can own an entire market. If you want to grow it even more and operate across the country, you can do that, too. A lot of models don’t allow that. It really allows the independent franchisee to control their destiny as far as how they want to grow their businesses.

Has TBC Corporation helped with the expansion?
They have done everything we’ve ever asked. When they see a growth opportunity, they understand who wants to grow and has the ability to grow, and they are willing to nurture you and help you understand the market. TBC is looking for growth partners. If you have the ability to grow, they are going to give you every opportunity to do it.

Without TBC we wouldn’t be sitting where we are today. They have made everything possible. They have put a lot into growing the Midas brand since they bought the franchise system. TBC understands how to help franchisees grow. (Vice President of Franchise Development) Bill Ketchem and (COO) Mike Gould have made that a priority and are willing to help us — whether that is bringing opportunities to our attention or providing operational support when it is needed.

I personally see TBC as a partner in my growth — and I think they have a long-term view of the value of the partnership. They’re not just looking at the next one or two years. They are looking 10, 20, 30 years from now as they build the brand.

How do you manage locations in 10 states?
We have a very strong backbone of operations. Operations run our company. Management at the front counter is the driving force for our success. We have district managers stationed throughout the country who visit our shops every day and report to our COO, Jeff Genuario, who is a third-generation owner in the Midas system. When he came into Leeds West, he already owned 10 stores. Even though we are a new company, we have a lot of old Midas blood in the company.

I actually bought my first two shops from Jeff, and as we started to grow, I saw a need for someone of Jeff’s caliber on the operations side. I feel there is no better operational partner than him. We restructured our companies to capitalize on what we both bring to the table.

Procedure and accountability are important for growth. Training is essential — accountability and setting goals. Those are the things we run by. TBC provides a lot of field help, but our district managers’ full-time job is to be customer service trainers. There is no way we would be able to grow at this pace without a strong operational structure.

How does the Midas brand affect your growth?
Customers come to Midas because it is a name they trust and recognize, that they are comfortable with. Having that national image is a great, great thing. I can’t tell you how often I’m in a shop and I meet a customer who moved from another state where they were a Midas customer. So they sought out Midas when they moved.

What does your typical day look like?
I know and try to live by the statement that “money is not made in the back office.” I try to spend time in stores as much as I can. It all comes down to how much time you can be at your front counter. I’m sitting in a shop in Milwaukee right now. I have a goal that either Jeff or I is at every shop across the country every month. Our goal is also for every shop to see their district manager every single day.

What does it take to succeed? What would you tell a new franchisee?
What kind of business do you want to be in, and how hard do you want to work? If you want to be hands-off, this isn’t for you. If they want to be involved and work hard — maybe harder than they’ve ever worked before — this offers an amazing return. For someone who wants to own their own business and create their own destiny, it is an awesome, awesome opportunity.

Learn more about the Midas franchise?

Want to learn more? Download our free franchise report to learn about startup costs for Midas and historical financial performance, and to start a conversation. You can also read more about Midas at our blog. We hope to hear from you soon!

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