Youth Apprenticeship grads now own automotive business
May 6, 2014
From livinglakecountry.com: “J&N Village Automotive takes over Village Car Care” — Sometimes meeting someone changes everything.
That’s what happened when Becky and Nick Bruss met in fourth grade and eventually, much later, married. It’s what happened when Nick met Josh Kiselicka in middle school, stayed friends through high school and eventually worked together as technicians at a car dealership. It also happened the day the three had begun looking at property to start their own automotive business in Mukwonago and met the broker that informed them long-time Village Car Care Center owners Roy and Linda Hafemeister were looking to retire and sell their location.
“It almost started like a joke,” Becky explained. “We were looking at buying just that land and putting up a small shop. There was a broker working with the former owners, and he walked over really just to say hi to my father-in-law, who was cleaning up, and started the conversation. It was not listed, so we didn’t even know it was for sale or an option.”
The trio officially took over the center March 22 and renamed it J & N Village Automotive.
Nick and Josh are both 2000 Mukwonago High School graduates. They both completed the youth apprenticeship program that allowed them hands-on automotive experience and decided to pursue automotive studies at Waukesha County Technical College before getting jobs at the same dealership.
“We had four-wheelers we started working on, and when we got to high school we got more interested so we decided to pursue it further and then go to school for it,” Josh explained. “Most of it is because it’s just what we’ve been really good at.”
The two men worked together at the same dealership for a while but then at different ones taking sidejobs for friends and family on the weekends in a one-hoist shop.
“We’ve had a number of people tell us we should start our own shop,” Josh said.
Nick said it was important for him to find a location in Mukwonago that would suite their needs.
“We wanted to be in Mukwonago because this is where we came from and this is where our customers are,” he explained.
A space of their own
The trio said they were thankful to the Hafemeisters for developing a client base and for making the transition pleasant. Becky said she was also thankful to everyone who had followed the group to their new location and also those who are first giving them a chance.
As for the three who have been together for much of their lives, they are excited to be growing in what they love to do.
“Like (Josh and Nick) said, they’ve been working on the side so that means after work and weekends, so it’s really been eight years of not seeing him much, so right now (working together) is still in the honeymoon stage,” Becky joked.
Nick said working with Josh won’t change much for him. “It is nice. When we were at separate dealerships we’d call each other and ask questions, and now it’s like we’re back to where we started, so it’s a good thing.”
J & N Village Automotive also employs a third full-time technician and has even looked back to their roots, taking a student under their wing.
“We want to start him on the path where we were 14 years ago,” Josh said. “It’s like full circle.”