During the first few weeks in business, the phone wasn’t ringing, customers weren’t coming in and Harvey Butner was starting to question the future of his dream.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Harvey Butner wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of working with cars.
That was his motivation behind opening Harvey’s Garage, an auto repair shop in Virginia Beach.
Butner opened the shop at the end of February, right as the pandemic was taking hold of the world – but, it hadn’t reached Virginia yet.
“I was taking a leap of faith,” said Butner. “Little did I know.”
During the first few weeks in business, the phone wasn’t ringing, customers weren’t coming in and Butner was starting to question the future of his dream.
Then the second blow came – as the pandemic gripped Virginia businesses, Butner learned his shop didn’t qualify for federal relief funds.
“The federal deadline was February 15th, and [we] became a business February 24th,” said Butner. ”Nine days. No waivers, nothing.”
Butner’s story isn’t about booming financial success – at least for now – but it isn’t about failure either.
Cars have started rolling into the shop and the sound of tools and puddles of oil on the shop floor let us know Harvey’s Garage found a way to survive despite the challenges.
“[We] just hit the ground grassroots. Knocking on doors, passing out flyers,” said Butner. “I did everything I could to make sure we are going to find one more car to keep food on the table.”
That crunch-time hustle not only kept him in business; Butner didn’t have to fire any of his six employees.
“That was my biggest concern,” he said.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things, including how we define success. Victory is survival, and at Harvey’s Garage, the dream is still alive.
“If it’s something you want to eat, sleep and live…go get it,” said Butner.
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