The Shop Owner Brotherhood

April 1, 2024
Shawn Hood made his dream of becoming a business owner a reality when he opened BrotherHood Oil.

Starting a business has always been a part of what many envision to be the American dream. After a while of working in the automotive industry, you may start to have your own ideas about what shops could do better. What if you took that leap and started your own shop? What if you could have the opportunity to lead a talented team? 

This is what motivated the creation of BrotherHood Oil, a quick lube and tire center in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Opened by Shawn and Lisa Hood in 2013, the pair had a vision that they worked hard to make a reality. 

In this profile with NOLN, Shawn Hood shares how he made that leap to being the owner of his own independent shop and how it culminated into a business that has only grown more successful with each year. 

Paving His Own Path 

Before he owned the current BrotherHood Oil facility, Hood worked for the automotive business that originally occupied the property. The owners approached him while he was a manager at Home Depot, asking him if he’d like to manage their store. Hood accepted, always having a knack for automotive work. 

Three-and-a-half years later, Hood left the shop to work at an apple orchard with his cousin as the brand kicked off its own hard cider product. In 2013, the auto shop he formerly worked for went out of business, and when Hood heard that the building was up for sale, he had the idea to do something he’s always wanted to: be his own boss. 

“I guess like everybody else, you kind of get where you want to work for yourself,” recalls Hood. “You want to do your things your way and try to make everything work without having to answer to somebody else.” 

Though Hood had experience leading teams as a manager, the way he ran things had to align with the business owner’s direction. The owners of the previous shop in his building were not usually present at the business, instead running it from a distance.  

Now, as his own owner, Hood stays highly involved in the day-to-day activities of his shop to know what is going well and what could be improved. 

One With the Shop 

Being involved with his team is something that has always been important to Hood. He still remembers how the assistant manager at one of his first jobs not only interacted often with the team, but the staff had direct contact with him and could get a better idea of how he wanted things done. 

“He was kind of right there with you, worked with you. He would almost become a friend to you,” remembers Hood. “Even though he was your boss, you knew that he was somebody that would be there to go to.” 

Hood communicates openly and regularly with his employees, and it isn’t uncommon to see him jumping between a variety of tasks alongside themwhether it be in the pit doing oil changes, working on brakes, doing tire rotations, or bringing customers their cars.  

This is a huge reason why Hood hasn’t considered expanding to other locations. He doesn’t want to become the detached, absentee owner that he’s seen before. He enjoys being able to devote all his time and energy to one place where he’s always present. 

Though he’s incredibly hands-on, his wife, Lisa, supports much of the behind-the-scenes operations. Though she has held a position with the local power and utility company for over three decades, she divides her time between there and BrotherHood Oil. She comes into the shop after working all day to take care of paperwork and payroll, having taught herself QuickBooks in the process. 

When the Hoods first opened their shop, the previous auto business that was there had already been closed for a year. Many stopped giving notice to the property and business was slow at the start. Still being a new business, there weren’t funds to go all out with advertising materials, but with Lisa’s help, the business was able to get its name out by creating a website, having a social media presence, and investing in billboards around the area. 

An Automotive Brotherhood 

Hood has always been intertwined with his business, but if there’s anything he’s learned since becoming a shop owner, it’s that no one can do it all by themselves. Though he had managed teams before, running his own business was something entirely new to Hood, making the insight he gained from others around him all the more valuable. 

The biggest struggle Hood sees with others starting their own businesses is fear. It’s scary to start something on your own, and it’s normal to fear the unknown, but the best thing you can do is to become as familiar as you can with the industrydo your research, take on some positions at nearby shopsand then take the leap.  

For anyone looking to start their own shop like Hood did, not being afraid to reach out to others for guidance is key to growing it into something great. In a world of big box stores and dealership chains, independent shops are inclined to help others like them. 

“If anybody was to come up to me, or I think they went to one of these other places and talked to them, I think they would give them advice as much as they could to help get them going,” says Hood. 

In the Business of Helping People 

Being able to help and connect with other people is a huge part of what Hood loves about his job, and it’s something his customers notice too. Many people from out of state deliberately plan to come by his shop when they’re on vacation, and those who live nearby often stop by just to chat. 

That care Hood has for others in his community is precisely what makes BrotherHood Oil successful: people know they can go there to receive comprehensive and quality service from people they trust.  

“You want everybody to feel that they can come here and get everything done without feeling like they’re just another number rolling through,” tells Hood. 

About the Author

Kacey Frederick | Assistant Editor

Kacey Frederick joined as the assistant editor of National Oil and Lube News in 2023 after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in philosophy. As the grandchild of a former motorcycle repair shop owner, he’s undergone a series of trials and tribulations with vehicles. Now the proud owner of a reliable 2011 Toyota Camry, he works to represent those in the service industry that keep him and so many others safely rolling on.

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