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One Community Auto, LLC

Submitted by: Gary Peterson
State: New Mexico
City: Albuquerque

Business Description

Our mission to help local non-profits raise money. We do this by taking in their donated vehicles, refreshing them and then re-selling them on our retail lot. It's a win-win for donor and charity.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

I recently retired from the USAF and wanted to create a business to directly support the community. I combined by passion for service with my love for anything on wheels. We saw donated vehicles going to auction and only returning pennies on the dollar to local charities. We knew we could do better; so we created One Community Auto, LLC to take in these vehicles, refresh them and then resell them. We started with one charity in 2013 and now support 13 wonderful non-profits in our community. Last year we helped raise over $20,000 for groups helping homelessness, children, veterans and many others in our community. We believe we have a responsibility to help make our community a better place to be. Together, we can!

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

The Sam's gift card would be a true blessing. We would use it to buy office supplies and a new computer for our office manager. We've bootstrapped our business and have used second hand equipment, but they are in need to replacement to make our work with charities more efficient. We've worked with SCORE over the past two years, but looking at what they offer, know we can gain more knowledge. We would seek more support in marketing and our growth plan. We think if people know about their donation options, they will choose to keep their car donation local and support charities in their community. We need help getting the word out.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

After leaving the service I took the startup courses SCORE offered. I had been working on my ideas for a business, but the course helped guide me to focus on problems. I did that and came up with my business idea. They've been there from day one. I recently attended a round table and also a one-on-one to help me focus more on marketing and growth. I think their mentorship is invaluable.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

I served in the military for 23 years and didn't have a business background. I had to quickly overcome a lack of business training. I had the drive and ideas, but didn't have knowledge on running the business from day to day. Through the help of SCORE, SBDC, SBA, VBOC, WBCs, etc, I've been able to gain the knowledge, not only to run my business, but also to grow it. I recently graduated from the SBAs Emerging Leaders course and this opened my eyes to the need of a growth plan. We were able to work on our own business throughout the course and I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and walked away with a 3-year growth plan.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

Through the Emerging Leaders program we realized we needed a clear marketing strategy. We also realized that we needed to help our non-profits more in this area. Once people know about the work we do, the benefits are very clear on why they should choose our program over the typical auction route. We need help spreading our message. This award will not only help promote our business, but more importantly will help highlight the important work that our local charities perform. I look at them as being on the front lines of the community. They are helping the most needy and deserving in our community. We want them to be successful in their missions. Together we're stronger and we can make our community a better place to live.
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