Shop Life

A Community of Winners

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There’s an implicit understanding that comes with handing out awards. The person who wins is of course deserving, but so are their fellow nominees. “It’s an honor just to be nominated,” goes the gracious response, and depending on your level of cynicism you may take that at face value or dismiss it as cliche, but it’s true. 

Anyone in the conversation for an award should feel honored, not just 2022 FenderBender Award winner Mike Schoonover but also runners-up Ryan DeMarco and Cliff Sullivan as well as all the other distinguished owners and operators nominated by their colleagues. There are cases to be made for so many people, cases that were made passionately in nominations. In these challenging times there are a myriad of owners who have overcome professional and personal setbacks to succeed.

But there can only be one winner, of course, and Mike Schoonover exemplifies that resiliency owners have had to have over the past few years. Carrying on the family business, growing it through tough times, is a story I think you’ll enjoy reading. The same goes for Cliff Sullivan, who may have been nominated specifically for how he successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, but who was able to do so because of the culture he’d established across decades. And then there’s Ryan DeMarco, an owner still in his late 20s who has already made a name for himself with early success. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating their achievements.

In addition to taking some time to honor our award winners, you’ll find more of our resources for the day-to-day operations of your shop in the rest of this month’s pages. They don’t hand out awards simply for showing up to work each day, but maybe they should. Thanks for showing up for your employees and your customers each and every day.


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