Tony Deal never saw himself in the auto repair business. Deal’s father ran an auto repair shop in Oxford for 20 years, but Deal saw his future in other places rather than running his dad’s business.
“I hated it,” said Deal. “That’s why I went to college and got a business degree so I wouldn’t have to do that for a living.”
Deal said he always found himself in the forefront. He was never one to follow the steps of others
Deal can now see the irony as a successful business owner of Deals’ Auto Repair for 16 years, but the change of heart did not happen instantly. Immediately after graduating from the University of Mississippi, Deal began working in corporate for Office Depot for the next five years, however he eventually saw the appeal in running his own business.
“I think coming out of [the corporate business] and watching my dad work, there is some satisfaction in everything that you have, you earned it,” said Deal. “Nobody gave you a check on Friday. I think there is some satisfaction in getting up in the morning and being able to earn [money] without somebody giving it to you.”
Deal left the corporate world in 2004, returned home and began a mobile car wash business, as one of the first people to start one in Oxford. Deal used his father’s old van to carry water and serviced cars on location.
Later, when Deal came across the opportunity to buy Marquis Chevron, an already established business in the community, he took it. Upon buying the property, he reassessed the business and realized Marquis had a loyal base of clients.
Deal wanted to do something a little different from the previous owners, but still have a customer base that trusted him.
“It’s almost like you’re going to a doctor,” he said. “You go to a doctor because you grew up with them taking care of you. Auto repair business is kind of the same.”
Most families have more than one car and they are a long-term investment, according to Deal. Cars are the second-largest purchase after a house and people want to know that they are safe in their own property.
“I want to build a relationship with a customer more than a transaction customer,” he said.
Deal credits the customers and community with the growth of Deal’s Auto Repair and he hopes the growth continues. Deal makes sure to reinvest the community that made him successful through drives and gets involved in local organizations to promote economic prosperity as a member of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and the Economic Development Foundation.
“Being visible with the Chamber and being around people that are self-employed or the people that are making decisions … gives me a platform and gives me some credibility,” said Deal. “Being able to be involved gives me credibility for customers.”
Deal has experienced a lot of what Oxford has to offer and he knows it is the perfect place for entrepreneurs like him who want to service the community, he said.
“If you provide a service and you do it correctly — with trust and honor— you can make it here,” said Deal. “I love Oxford. I like the changes that are going on. I just enjoy it.”
For more information on Deal’s Auto Repair, visit www.dealsautorepairshop.com