I was 23 years old and rented an old vacant gas station building in Redlands, CA. for $500 per month. I didn't know the first thing about running a business but I was pretty good with a wrench and I was comfortable dealing with people. I have always been a people person and really enjoy that part of the business. My goal was to provide better service to my customers than anyone else in the area, (especially the new car dealer).
Foreign cars always intrigued me. I found them more interesting and challenging to work on. So, I decided to specialize in imports and named my business Import Automotive. In 1976 this was a real business advantage. There were very few independent shops that would even touch an import car. Customers were relieved to finally have a dealership alternative.
My mom had experience as a bookkeeper and was working as a school secretary so she had a good basic understanding of how to run a business and keep the books. She did all the running around to get a business license, resale permit, and various other permits, etc. My dad and I went to a tool wholesaler and bought some basic shop equipment to get me started.