MTA Q&A with Beenleigh Mufflers and Brakes
Garry and Vicki Maroske have owned and run Beenleigh Mufflers and Brakes for 14 years, during which time the mechanical repair business has become a valued part of the local community. In the past year, the couple, together with son Cody, have expanded their interests by establishing Garry Maroske Automotive - a business offering mechanical services to commercial and fleet customers whilst also being a base for their Sprintcar motorsport team.
What products and services does Beenleigh Mufflers and Brakes, and Garry Maroske Automotive, provide?
GM: We do everything mechanical including servicing, brakes, engine replacements and repairs, exhausts and so on. We have a great relationship with other local businesses, such as the local Bob Janes T-Mart, and through those relationships we can provide services we don’t do in-house. Essentially, we provide a one-stop service for our customers.
VM: We are an independent owner-operated business but also a member of the Carline Group which has more than 100 stores Australia-wide. That means customers can get work completed at any Carline store and, should they be traveling and something goes wrong, can go to any other local Carline store for assistance.
We work with a number of excellent product brands including Lukey Exhaust which is exclusive to Carline stores. It is a terrific brand offering a nationwide guarantee on their products.
Our second shop, Garry Maroske Automotive (GMA), is located a few miles from Beenleigh Mufflers and Brakes and offers servicing and maintenance services to the commercial and fleet industries.
What is your background in the industry, in motorsport, and how did you come to establish your business?
GM: I got into cars and motor racing when I was younger. My uncle and his son competed down on the Gold Coast
where there was, at one time, a speedway track and I was probably 17 or 18 when I started racing. We would spend every waking moment on our cars racing on a Friday night in Brisbane and a Saturday night on the Gold Coast and we just would not stop! I raced many cars over the years and used to build a new car every year. I stopped racing in 1993 when the kids came along but started up again about 10 years later.
VM: Cody began racing too, in the juniors, and it began to become a little difficult when they were racing at different tracks on the same day. Then, at the Toowoomba speedway, Garry was taken out during a race when another driver drove under his rear bumper and lifted him. He rolled eight times and hit the concrete wall and was hurt quite badly. Garry is pivotal to the business and he decided to retire from racing and concentrate on the business and Cody’s racing career.
GM: In the early days, while I was racing, I also worked at Dairy Cream ice cream on the Gold Coast. I was there for 13 years but eventually realised that there really wasn’t a future there in the longer term. So, I took up the chance to work at a True Blue Exhaust shop. I worked there three days for free to show I could do what they wanted me to do and I’ve been working with exhausts ever since!
I worked for True Blue for a while and then partnered in a shop on the Gold Coast called Miami Mufflers and Brakes. I was there for more than 10 years before we decided to move on and start up on our own. We found a run-down business in Beenleigh called Max Mufflers, that had been an exhaust shop for about 20 years, took it over and have been there since then.
As for Garry Maroske Automotive, that came about partly due to a business opportunity and partly due to our involvement with speedway racing.
VM: We had been in a house on acreage for about 20 years, using the shed on the property to work on race cars. During the period when Garry wasn’t racing, we ended up moving to a new house with no shed and it was then that Garry and Cody found a cheap race car and decided to get back into racing again. Of course, after the house move, we had nowhere to put the car!
At the same time, we were interested in growing the business. We hadn’t planned on having two businesses but it turned out to be a really good thing with GMA catering to commercial and fleet customers. That second shop also allows us to have a place where we can keep and work on the race car. It has worked out well. It was a big investment, but challenges are great and it has been a good move for us.
How many staff do you have and what is your family’s involvement?
VM: We started with one staff member and we now have eight between the two business - two at GMA and the others at Beenleigh. We are thinking about taking on another apprentice soon at GMA.
All the family are involved in the business – Garry runs the shop at Beenleigh and is very hands-on; I do the administration and Cody manages GMA. Nicole, our daughter, has been involved too but at the moment she is at university and has other commitments.
To what do you attribute your success?
GM: We work very hard and we are honest with our customers.
VM: You need to be fast, efficient and effective, and work hard with honesty and integrity. We are good at what we do and provide a great product to customers. People want to know they are being looked after. Trust is a big deal in any industry and people want to know that when they come to you that you are honest.
And Garry is very hands on. He talks to customers, knows them, makes sure they are happy. That is how he operates. He is extremely good and efficient, and that works for us because we get a lot of referrals and return customers. In fact, we haven’t really had to advertise over the years. The only advertising we have ever done is in the Yellow Pages.
What does the future hold for the business?
VM: GMA is becoming established and we will continue to grow while offering a great service. And we will continue to move and keep up with the changes in the industry and changing technology. You really have no choice but to move with the times. It can be tough, especially for the older generation, to keep up with technological change, but you have to do it or soon you won’t be able to operate as a business.
What do you do with your spare time, if you have any?
GM: We don’t have any spare time! There’s work and there’s racing and there’s preparing for racing!
VM: We do have a close circle of friends and we try to get together, but it can be hard to squeeze things in. It can be difficult but we do manage. What we love about speedway is that it is a family thing. As they say, the family that plays together, stays together!