Chris Partridge is the Owner of FargoDIYGarage in Fargo ND, a garage where people can rent space to work on their cars, trucks and motorcycles. Partridge claims he was never someone who knew exactly what he wanted, so he bounced around a bit, doing all sorts of jobs from fast food to telemarketing to automotive sales and service. He also worked as a railroad conductor and engineer, a Navy weapons technician and even managed a salvage yard for a while.
One thing stayed constant though, Partridge always remained fascinated by vehicles, all of them, the great ones and the bad ones, land, sea or air.
“I love fixing or maintaining something myself and the feeling of accomplishment when I am done, especially if I save a little money along the way,” said Partridge. “I like many military people, discovered the Base Auto Hobby Shops and I fell in love with the idea. I have been waiting to open my own version for 20 years. My name is Chris and I finally own my dream.”
What was your first job once you finished your service?
Car sales at a Toyota dealer in Colorado.
What led you to military service?
An intense curiosity about the world and underwhelming grades my first time in college.
What skill that you learned in your military service do you use most in your business career?
Leadership, dependability, courage and self confidence.
Would you have been able to start a business without your military experience? Why or why not?
A business yes, but not this business. I got the idea for my business from my time in the Navy.
What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship – or maybe a veteran who started a business and is struggling?
Do it, jump in, failure is part of the process. You rarely get it exactly right the first time, but you need that experience to steer yourself to success. You miss every shot you do not take.
Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?
I still struggle with that from time to time. Making people happy makes the struggle so worth it to me.
What are some things you would’ve done differently with your business career if given a second chance?
Start very small and build. Every dime counts, so start as small as you can and grow as your demand grows. If you build to satisfy a demand that is not yet there you are paying for space, products and equipment you don’t need.