Ours is a generation enamored with all things disposable, but Greg Thompson's business is dedicated to keeping a car on the road rather than letting it become a trade in.
His automotive repair business, GT Service Center, requires a bit of sleuthing just to locate. Tucked away just off of Airport Road, it is the last building you will find to the right of two black mailboxes. But if your goal is to keep your automobile running instead of taking on yet another bill in the form of a car payment, he just might be worth the effort.
Question: You are a former marine turned business owner. But your first draw to Stephenville was due to the dairy industry. How did that background transform you into an automobile repairman?
Answer: “I did auto repair at my hometown. I worked in high performance shops and things?I learned quite a bit. When I joined the marines, all of my testing was highest in mechanical aptitude. So they put me in as an aircraft mechanic.
“I’ve been self employed since I got out of the marine corp. I’m from California and I used to build dairies. My dad came out here to work and called me to come out and help him.
“A man had a place in Dublin across from my dad’s old shop. He had built a shop for his son, but his son didn’t want to do it. So he let me rent it and that’s where I started my business.”
Question: Today is your 29th anniversary at the helm of GT Service Center, and it is obvious you have seen changes in your line of work. What are the major differences between the tasks you face now and those you handled nearly three decades ago? And what are the main repairs you do these days?
Answer: “Diagnostics, drivability. We try to figure out if you have a problem with computer sensors, whatever?there’s a lot of diagnostics in it.
“My favorite thing in most cases is trying to figure out what the problem is. You scan the car and then you use the computer program to look it up, to see what’s involved, why you are getting a certain code and what could be the cause of it.”
Question: It seems you truly love what you do, but even a business owner has to take some time off now and then. What do you do in your free time?
Answer: “I usually keep the weekends for myself. I love flying. I had a Cherokee six, but I sold it because the economy got me.
“Weekends are family time. I take care of my horses and my house. I like to get away from the business because you get so wired into it that your mind is running crazy. I like to get my weekends away so I can come back and say, ‘I want to go to work Monday.’”