BUSY MAC DADDY GARAGE DESTINATION FOR EUROPEAN, JAPANESE CARS IN GJ
Paul and Tina Woodward own Mac Daddy Auto of Grand Junction and …
Wait, wait, wait. First things first.
Where DID that name come from?
If you’re at all streetwise, the term “mac daddy” ain’t no sobriquet of goodwill.
According to urbandictionary.com, a “mac daddy” is the baddest of the bad, the king of the bling, the man who means anything and everything to his, umm, ladies.
The term “mac” is said to have derived from a French (and then Louisiana Creole) term meaning pimp. Adding “daddy” makes it mean “top pimp.”
This news makes Paul squirm slightly and grin while Tina just laughs.
“I really had no idea of what it meant until one of my sons told me,” said Paul in all honesty, his blue eyes flashing in fun. “By then, the business was taking off. Besides, it’s a catchy name and works good in our commercials.”
Anyway, it would be tough to mistake what’s obviously a very busy garage (a term that does little justice to the resident brainpower and technical savvy that makes recalcitrant engines hum smoothly) crowded with a display of vintage autos and modern wrench-turner conveniences for a pimp-mobile repository.
“You should have seen it yesterday,” said right-hand man (and the Woodwards’ only employee) Craig Wieland, who at the age of 3 was dismantling mechanical objects, including his dad’s road bike. “We had this whole side (waving his arms) just lined up with newer Mercedeses and over there the two older cars.”
Mac Daddy specializes in European and Japanese cars, such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Subaru. But Paul and Craig don’t stop there. They’ll work on just about anything that has an internal-combustion engine.
Hence, parked next to the 1951 bug-bodied, eye-popping-red MGA and behind the lily-white 1973 Mercedes 360 SL are the craggy features of a dune buggy waiting its turn for some attention and TLC.
“A fellow brought that in for us to look at,” Paul said. “I’m not sure what’s wrong, but we’ll tackle anything once. And if we can’t fix it, we’ll tell you straight up and find out who can.”
That willingness to take on just about any task (there’s also a Mini Cooper waiting for a tune-up, a cherry-red Mustang with a few problems and a couple more Mercedeses sitting nearby) and that same willingness to confess when things aren’t looking good are what make Mac Daddy Auto stand out from the crowd.
“It’s important to be open to your customers,” said Woodward, who can be reached at 243-9644. “The quality of our work is our reputation.”
The real story behind the name is a bit more pedestrian. Seems Paul decided a couple of years ago to veer away from being a mechanic to selling tools to mechanics. Wrench-turners need good tools, just like a top chef or artist needs good tools.
For mechanics, that means something that will take a beating (literally and figuratively) as well as the occasional drop-kick across the garage, and will take it for years. You’ve seen the big trucks, emblazoned with names of tool companies, that service these hard-working men and women, making the rounds of each shop and repair site.
Paul took on the role for Mac Tools, and in two years built the endeavor into a profitable, well-regarded business.
“I saw a niche here. There was an existing Mac Tool dealer, but the business wasn’t doing well, and I thought I could fix it,” Woodward said. “I took it over, and pretty soon I turned it around.”
One aspect of the retail tool business is meeting mechanics and shop owners and sharing the tales common to all who spend their lives bent over a fender or peering up at the bottom of a car.
“It was good business, and I really liked it, but I missed mechanicking,” said Paul, using a word that doesn’t appear in Webster’s dictionary but one everyone can figure out. “When I heard Import Auto might be for sale, I went and talked to the owners.”
The purchase, of course, wasn’t a unilateral decision. Tina had her say, because she runs the front office, and soon the compromise was struck.
Paul Woodward really is the Mac Daddy.
That first shop soon proved too small for the growing business, and one day Mac Daddy boxed all those tools and gauges and computers and scanners and hauled them a couple blocks to the new shop at 1161 Ute Ave.
It’s twice as big (3,800 square feet compared to 1,800) and even the main repair room is as big as the entire old shop.
“I like it here,” said Tina, looking around at the spacious office she remodeled and painted an eye-pleasing blue-gray with tamale-red highlights. “I feel like I have my own space here.”
She cheerfully refuses to respond to the name “Mac Momma.”
As for Paul, who has been working on and fixing engines for 25 of his 46 years, it was the love of “mechanicking” that got him back into turning wrenches and watching computer screens.
“Why go back? I really enjoy working on cars, I always have,” he said. “It’s a different kind of knowledge, now, though. Really, you used to be able to fix things with baling wire and elbow grease, but now if you don’t have a (computerized) scan tool, you’re out of luck.
“The days of the shade-tree mechanic are just about over.”
Wieland, too, has an affinity or worse for being a mechanic. That tendency revealed itself early in life, as when the 3-year- old dismantled his dad’s bike and got it back together and running before the old man got home.
And how many 5-year-olds do you know who get a broken-down lawn mower engine for a Christmas gift?
“It was the greatest thing,” said Wieland, his face lighting up at the memory. “My uncle mounted this old lawn mower engine on this big board and gave it to me. I fixed it and got it running. I loved it.”
And you know he really did.
As for Mac Tools, Paul’s oldest son (of three), Jeremiah, 23, has taken over that position (making him Mac Sonny?).
But catchy name aside, the business is built on customer service, first and foremost, Paul said.
“Customer service is the key; taking care of people is the biggest thing for us,” he said.
He remains friends with other car repair shops, the ones he met while making the Mac
Tools rounds, and he’s not afraid to send business their way if it’s the wrong fit for his shop.
“I saw a real need for our shop, but we’ll send people (to others) if we can’t work on it,” he said candidly. “It’s a small town, and we need to work together.”
Now, that’s the kind of mac daddy you like to hang around with.