It Runs in The Family

June 3, 2024
Freddy Saraiva’s parents were ready to retire–but he was just getting started.

It’s hard to know what your calling is until it hits you. When Freddy Saraiva’s family sold the quick lube shop he had worked at since he was 16, he went on to find other paths—and quickly realized he was in the right place all along. 

Going from working in an independent shop to running a franchise location has been a change for Saraiva, but he hasn’t sacrificed any aspects of the family-owned business he loved growing up. As his father Fred Sr. entered retirement, Saraiva moved from California to Arizona to take over a Victory Lane Quick Oil Change franchise within months after leaving the family business. 

Saraiva spoke with NOLN about how he found himself returning to the oil change industry and found the perfect brand to accommodate his family-oriented work culture in Victory Lane. 

Old Habits Die Hard 

From 2005 to 2023, Saraiva ran a Havoline xpress lube alongside his parents and brother in Yuba City, California, providing him with plenty of industry experience before launching his career with Victory Lane. 

He grew up in the Yuba City area, but often came to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, on vacation with his family as a child. A tourist destination for many jet ski enthusiasts across the world, it sits in between Las Vegas and Phoenix, with the next closest town being 30 miles away. Saraiva never expected to live in Lake Havasu City—at least not before his father, Fred Sr. 

“My dad, since I was a kid, has always wanted to live there. He's always wanted to retire there,” says Saraiva. “When I tell people the story it's really strange … I never thought I would actually live in Lake Havasu, and then I'd never thought I'd actually own a business there, and I never thought I'd actually live there before my dad moved there. So, it's all kind of coming together, the puzzle piece.” 

Having worked in the field since he was in high school, when Saraiva’s family decided to sell the business, he wasn’t sure what to do next. He took on a few odd jobs following the business’ closure in 2023 but knew the oil change industry was where he wanted to be. 

An Opportunity Falling in Your Lap 

When Saraiva became aware of a Victory Lane franchise opportunity in Lake Havasu, he and his wife Amanda arranged a meeting with Victory Lane’s Vice President of Franchise Operations, James Harrington.  

The owner of an existing franchise location in Lake Havasu had fallen ill, and someone needed to step in and take over. With him and his wife being familiar with the area already, it was a great opportunity to jump back into the industry. 

Prior to meeting with Harrington, Saraiva wasn’t familiar with the Victory Lane brand. He did his research, but it was upon meeting with Harrington that he could tell they would make a good fit. 

“That's how I kind of knew I was in the right place, when I started talking to him. They have the same mindset business-wise that my dad taught me,” explains Saraiva. 

Having a background working in a family-owned business, Saraiva appreciates the close-knit nature of Victory Lane’s franchise network. The brand has over 30 locations, primarily found in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The only other Arizona store is a corporate-owned location in Payson, about four hours east of Lake Havasu City. 

Working in a franchised business is certainly different from an independent shop, mostly for the support you receive as a business owner. Victory Lane franchisees take part in monthly meetings and have access to a database that keeps them informed on everything they need to know, such as recalls or new oil product releases. 

Family Matter 

Though the store had been in existence before the Saraivas took over in June 2023, the community wasn’t paying that much attention. There was no effort being made on the advertising front, and since the building was first constructed in 1997, it’s seen several businesses come and go. 

While Saraiva handles working on vehicles and speaking with customers in the shop, his wife Amanda has been the backbone of their advertising and customer outreach. Saraiva has been pleasantly surprised by how much growth they’ve had in only a year, but they’ve seen enormous success from establishing a social media presence and working to build a place the entire community can enjoy. 

The store is undoubtedly on the right path, though it’s been anything but a walk in the park. A little less than a month after taking over the location, a pipe in the waiting area busted, flooding the entire room. For the entirety of that summer, the Victory Lane team had no air conditioning during the intense Arizona heat–and yet, customers didn’t seem to mind. 

“We didn't even have a waiting room and people still supported us,” recalls Saraiva. “We had a Portacool, we offered waters–we tried to get the cars out as quick as we could because we knew the customer couldn't really go anywhere besides a car.” 

Despite being presented with a huge roadblock upon starting, Saraiva has worked to keep a positive, comfortable atmosphere that brings customers back–but working in the shop alongside not only his wife but also his son and brother makes it easy to come in with a smile on his face. 

Family is what brought Saraiva into this industry when he first worked in his parents’ shop, and it’s what motivates him to remain in it. As Saraiva continues to succeed in the field, his father will be moving to Arizona this coming summer to reunite with his family and achieve his lifelong dream of living in Lake Havasu City. 

“That's what motivates me the most is my family,” Saraiva confesses. “And being that it's me and my wife, and we're kind of building this together: that's why I go to work six days a week. I'm there to make that place work, no matter what it's going to take.” 

Teryl Jackson Photography
River Underwood Photography
Millicent Garland
Lavana Howard, vanna d. photography