Matthew Crouch, a retired Marine Corps pilot, is no stranger to challenges. With a military career spanning 26 years, he has navigated through some of the most demanding situations. Today, he applies the same tenacity and discipline to his new venture as a franchise owner of a Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care store in Kansas City, Missouri.
Matthew’s military journey began at age 18, when he attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He was commissioned to the Marine Corps in 2000, a decision influenced by his father’s service in Hawaii during the era of the Vietnam War. Matthew’s military career took him to various parts of the world, including deployments to Iraq and stints in Shanghai, China, and South Korea. In Iraq, Matthew was responsible for transporting injured soldiers by helicopter from the battlefield to areas where they could receive a higher level of care. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in September 2022, marking the end of a distinguished military career.
Franchising Fuels Crouch Family Venture
Matthew’s transition from military service to entrepreneurship was a natural progression. Skills honed in the military, such as process management, training management, and prioritization, have proven invaluable in his new role. “There are a lot of transferable skills to business ownership,” Matthew said.
Venturing into the automotive industry was a family affair. Matthew, his father Russell, and his brother Mason, all Marine Corps veterans, saw an opportunity to create a lasting legacy.
“We wanted to create something we could do together that would stand as a legacy for our children if they wanted to be entrepreneurial,” Matthew explained.
The Crouch family took over operations of an existing auto repair shop in mid-December and converted it to a Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care franchise. Matthew focuses on marketing and human resources, Mason manages day-to-day operations, and Russell oversees the finances.
As a leading franchisor in the automotive aftermarket, Moran Family of Brands offers a robust support system with structured systems and procedures. Moran is the franchisor of six brands in the aftermarket and window tinting industry, including Mr. Transmission, Milex Complete Auto Care, and Turbo Tint.
The decision to partner with Moran was influenced by the franchisor’s family attitudes, values, and high level of support. Despite the Crouches’ lack of background in the industry, the franchise system provided the necessary support, reinforcing the strength of a good partnership.
Matthew believes that their military background played a significant role in their decision to franchise.
“Franchising has structured systems and procedures. It’s something you’re comfortable with after serving in the military,” he said.
Access to standard operating procedures, training, and support, coupled with the family’s dedication and hard work, has been instrumental in the early success of their business.
Family Commitment to Service Continues
The Crouch family’s commitment to service extends beyond their military background and into their business. They aim to provide quality automotive care to their community, retaining all employees from the previous business and expanding services to new customers. They’re committed to helping people keep their cars in good condition at an affordable price.
“We feel like automotive care is something that everyone needs,” Matthew said. “We wanted to provide a valuable service to the community.”
The journey to business ownership has not been without its challenges. The Crouch family had to move more than 1,000 miles to Kansas City, and they lived together for several months after the loss of Russell’s home in a fire. However, their steadfast faith and the support of Moran have been their guiding light.
“The Crouches embody everything that we think an ideal franchisee can be,” said Peter Baldine, Moran’s president. “They are hardworking, family-oriented men with an unmatched drive. They’ve already seen a great response since opening about six months ago and we’re looking forward to watching them succeed in the Kansas City market.”
The shop offers a comprehensive range of automotive repair and maintenance services. The location has seven service bays and is also staffed by three mechanics and one repair order writer.
Matthew’s story is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of military veterans. With their commitment to service and community, the Crouch family is making a mark in Kansas City. They plan to sponsor a youth sports team and help local churches service their fleet of vehicles at a discounted rate.