Here at LoCo Think Tank, we are so grateful to our “LoCommunity”: the members who come together to strengthen and support each other's businesses. As a way of sharing our gratitude, we're introducing Member Spotlights to our online platforms. We sent these questions out to our longest-running members first:
"What does being “LoCo” mean to you? As you know, we’re crazy about empowering small businesses to thrive together, and we’re always looking for ways to do that better. What would you like us to share about the ways your business contributes to the local community? How do you empower others?"
Wally Veigel responded right away to share about his business: Wally's Speed Shop, what it brings to the community, and how his LoCo Think Tank chapter has helped him thrive.
First, a little background
Wally's Speed Shop is an auto restoration service in Loveland, Colorado, specializing in classic automobile and truck restoration and repair. Wally describes it this way: “Our services range from simple maintenance to full restoration. We offer a one stop shop for your classic car needs.” One look at his website, wallysspeed.com, and you will see a story unfold of the passion and dedication that he and the team put into each vehicle.
On the site, Wally shares his journey to the work he’s most passionate about:
“After deciding college wasn’t for me, I went to tech school to pursue an interest in automotive repair. There I learned the basic skills in repairing automobiles from bumper to bumper. All the time tinkering with older cars like my first truck, a 1963 C-10. That truck taught me a lot. I worked on it as my only transportation until life made that difficult and it went into long term storage.
Fast forward to 2016. I worked on many cars old and new and decided that I wanted to open a shop of my own that was different than the rest. A shop where people are comfortable spending their hard earned money on their dream cars. With myself and one employee, we opened Wally’s Speed Shop in September 2016. With the promise of honest quality work, we have grown to a business with 8 amazing employees performing full body and paint, fabrication, mechanical repair and full restoration services.
The future looks bright and it is full of new projects.”
Joining LoCo Think Tank
LoCo has been a part of Wally’s business journey since he joined in the spring of 2018. He sought out the support of our peer advisory groups as a way to network with fellow business owners and experienced professionals who can offer perspective and advice on everything from marketing strategies to financial planning.
One of the regular features of LoCo’s monthly chapter meetings is what is called the “LoCollaborative Process.” In it, the featured member that month shares a presentation on their business’s most relevant issue that they’d like input on. When we asked Wally for an example of an issue his LoCo chapter helped him process, he responded:
“I’ve had the standard employee issues and in particular I had to part ways with a long time employee. This issue processing of this decision was helpful to me emotionally. These are hard decisions to make and the feeling of empowerment that I received from my group was instrumental to following through.”
Just as restoring a classic car takes time and effort, being part of a peer advisory group requires commitment and dedication. But the rewards are worth it - not only has Wally’s Speed Shop benefitted from the collective knowledge and experience of the group, but Wally has been able to form lasting connections with other entrepreneurs who understand the challenges he faces.
When asked to describe a meaningful connection he’s made as a LoCo member, Wally said:
“Hard to pick one…..
But it's not just about networking - our resources can help drive growth and success for our members. From expert guest speakers to one-on-one sessions with facilitators, LoCo Think Tanks offers a variety of tools and support. Wally cites “budgeting and cash flow projection” as specific tools he’s learned from his chapter meetings that can be put to use right away.
Empowering the Community
Our motto here at LoCo is: “Ask of your needs and share of your abundance.” So we wanted to know what kind of unique ways Wally’s Speed Shop shares value with their Loveland community.
“We empower the community to show off their hard earned money and individuality in the form of cool transportation,” Wally said. “ The income from the shared passion with our customers lets us give back to the community through Realities For Children, Loveland Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Loveland High School Band and Hearts and Horses.”
If you want to see how seriously they take the craft of “cool transportation,” just check out some of the projects posted on wallysspeed.com! In the “Current Projects” section, you can follow their progress of restoring classic cars or even see how they built one from the ground up!
Wally shares our heart for lifting up the community by giving back with his commitment to the various organizations he listed. And we often see him at Realities for Children events where Curt Bear is an ambassador.
A Personal Journey
At LoCo, we recognize and appreciate the significance of diverse perspectives and build that into our chapters as much as possible. We believe that everyone is intrinsically valuable and has something unique to contribute. As peers, we come together to learn from each other’s journeys - something that provided the basis for The LoCo Experience weekly podcast. LoCo Founder Curt Bear takes time to have conversations with business leaders in the community and get to know who they are and what inspired them on their particular path. Wally and his wife Miriam were featured in Experience #63, so if you want to spend some time with them, give it a listen.
In the meantime, we asked Wally for a brief recap of what he’d like people to know about him personally:
Words of Wisdom
From their diversity of perspectives, we encourage members to share of their abundance of wisdom gained from trial and error in the world of business. What wisdom did Wally want to leave with us today?
“If you don’t stop learning and progressing, you will get caught in a loop of stagnation.
A Kaizen mentality keeps you in a continuous state of improvement….If you or your business don’t need improvement, then you are not looking hard enough.”
Peer advisory groups can be an invaluable resource for small business owners looking to take their company to the next level. By leveraging LoCo Think Tanks resources, businesses can benefit from the collective wisdom of their peers and take their operations to new heights.
Whether it's a classic automobile restoration shop, a small business in their first growth spurt, or a solid company looking to break through to the next level, peer advisory groups are a powerful tool for any business with an eye to the horizon.
It’s thanks to the dedication and intentionality of business owners like Wally Veigel that we have a robust local economy. Let’s keep it growing and thriving together!