Award Runner Up: Shane Burton

Sept. 2, 2021
Shane Burton is taking the family Jiffy Lube shops to new heights.

It began as a family business, one generation above Shane Burton.

“It started with my uncle, Ross,” Burton says. “He was the one who started the whole thing.”

In the late ‘90s, around the time that Jiffy Lube absorbed the Q Lubes chain, Burton says his uncle was working for Quaker State. Uncle Ross joined Burton’s father, Ted, and went into the quick lube business.

In those early years of the franchise, Burton was working as a high school teacher. He did that for 13 years, teaching the sciences and some other subjects.

“At the same time, I would work at the stores and just learn the positions,” he says. “I would work the pit for three months straight, or the hoods or the computer.”

That set up Burton to eventually take over the business, which he did about nine years ago. But he kept learning business lessons from his father. Those lessons continued even after Burton's father died in late 2020. 

The legacy left is a strong local quick lube chain that continues to serve customers in the way Burton’s father sought to do. Burton carried on that work and has carried three locations into bustling Jiffy Lube service centers. At the same time, he’s built goodwill through philanthropy and community involvement.

“What we focus on in Twin (Falls), and what we’ve always done, is No. 1: customer service,” Burton says. “And No. 2: getting in and out quick. And No. 3: doing what you say you do. And if you cover all three of those in the fast lube business, you’re going to do pretty good.”

For his commitments to his career and his community, Burton has earned this runner-up spot in NOLN.

Perks of the Job

At the heart of Burton’s operation is a solid team of techs and managers. Devan Lyman, Burton’s general manager, tells NOLN that they have employees whose time with the company spans decades. Lyman himself has been with them for 15 years.

“I would never leave his stores because of the level of care he provides,” Lyman says of Burton. “Sales are up dramatically and employee turnover is at an all-time low. That's rare in the lube business, and if anyone has worked and earned recognition, it is Mr. Burton.”

Burton knows the importance of tech work. He did it himself for a time. When he took over the Twin Falls operations about nine years ago, he knew that success would start with that core team.

“We have longevity with some of our employees,” Burton says. “My area manager for Twin has been with us since the beginning. When I was working as a lube tech, he was my pit tech.”

It’s hard for every lube shop to hire, he says, and sometimes owners have to pay up, even though it can be a bookkeeping challenge. It’s not just pay, either. Burton holds big holiday parties each winter and created a bonus program at the shops. He sends his top employees on fishing and hunting trips to reward them.

Burton says that he’s learned that leading a team is about being personal and looking beyond the line item. That’s the culture he wants to build.

“They want to be noticed. Everybody wants to be noticed,” he says. “So we try to implant that into our managers. And we’re there every day. We want to know what’s going on in their lives. We try to help them out as best we can. There are programs, but we find out what’s going on with them and we pay attention.”

Spreading Success

Community service has been a priority for Burton as a business owner.

“We try to do more and more of that,” he says. “If you’re not supporting your community, they're the ones who are coming in and paying everyone's salaries.”

The company donates to local groups like the Shriners. Lyman says the company has raised money for anti-domestic violence causes as well. 

Burton has also made it a point to give back to the education system in which he worked. One of those is a teacher of the month gift card giveaway. There are other giveaways for office assistants and custodial staff members as well.

His company also sponsors a program called “What Drives You,” which is an essay contest for students. The students must write an essay reflecting upon the motivating forces in their lives, and how they’re pushing to achieve their own goals.

“It’s cool to read all those, and we pick a winner, and then we give them a $1,500 scholarship,” Burton says. “And second place gets a $1,000 scholarship. And the school that turns in the most gets a $500 check.”

Similar to his attitude with his own staff, Burton’s community service efforts are a chance to show the community that he wants to take part in its progress. Helping a student out with a scholarship may or may not gain a customer for the shops, but it helps out the student, and Burton says that’s the goal.

Lessons Learned

One of the biggest lessons Burton learned from his father about being an operator is a practical one for any shop.

“A dirty pit and you'll have a dirty store,” he says. “It’s so right. If you're not cleaning, you’re going to have problems.”

Another lesson Burton’s father imprinted was the need for strong shop-level leadership—and the ability to draw from that person’s strength. Whenever there is an issue at a specific location, Burton says he will always talk to the manager first. The link is so crucial to what’s happening on the bay floor.

Burton also learned to push the envelope a bit and try out new things. He says that they launched a quality inspection process years ago that went into use across the national Jiffy Lube network. He was an early adopter of cameras recording the service process, which has become very common both for customer service and liability protection. All the while, shop revenues have increased.

Finally, Burton says that he has learned the value of the overall experience. Customers might not pay close attention to how the oil change service itself is going. But techs always have the opportunity to make an impression during personal interaction. That’s what the customer will always remember.

“They’re not going to think about you after the oil change,” he says. “First impressions and your last impressions are big deals. They may not remember the service, but they will remember that it wasn’t a bad experience.”