Keeping it in the Family at Crane Automotive

By ELISA MAYO,

Katie Crane had no idea that her husband’s interest in autobody repairs would make her a mompreneur one day, “I really thought that this body shop would be a hobby.  Boy, was I wrong about it all!  He sold his skills, and now we have a great business,” explains Katie.

Katie and husband, Kevin, own Crane Automotive where they work together to do autobody repairs.  An average day for Katie includes working at the shop and being a mama to Kadin, 6, and Konner, 1, “I do whatever work needs to be done--paying bills, ordering parts, insurance claims, transporting vehicles,” says Katie, “I set an alarm on my phone to tell me to go home so I can cook dinner and get the kids ready for bed.”  Katie admits the work is never-ending and always feels that there is something to be done.  The couple pride themselves with offering great service, “I think our business really cares about the happiness of our customers.  Things don’t always work out the way we want, but as long as our customer is happy, it is all worth it,” says Katie.

While Kevin was the “catalyst” for the couple becoming entrepreneurs, Katie says, “I do it because of my mama, Barbara O’Neil.  She always put her husband and children before anything else, and that made an impression on me.”  With her position in the business, Katie was able to keep her children with her for the first year of their lives, “I’m not the stay-at-home mom type, and this gives me the best of both worlds,” says Katie.  Living in both worlds does come with its challenges and Katie admits finding a balance is not always easy.  She explains with a healthy dose of realism, “I thought it would be great to bring my baby to work--bonding and all.  It was great until he only yells when I am on the phone.”

“Our lives are conducive to the dirty, rough, and toughness of boys,” explains Katie, “Both of our boys love to be in the shop playing with tools, nuts, bolts or dirt.  They have an interesting future ahead of them in that shop.”  For Katie being a mompreneur benefits her family, but she says, “The biggest reward of owning our own business is knowing that my husband is doing what he loves.  I may get frustrated at times, but seeing him in the shop with our boys makes it all worth it.”   

When asked about advice for others considering becoming a mompreneur Katie says, “Pray that you are doing the right thing at the right time.  Pray that God will be with you in the hard times because there will be plenty of them.  I would also recommend a mentor.  My mother-in-law, DeeDee Crane has always been my financial advisor.  She has been there when times were good, but she also listened and gave advice when I had no idea what I was doing.”  Katie admits that she sometimes feels inadequate, but says her ability to be efficient helps the Cranes run their business.  After three years, Katie has no plans of quitting, “I am motivated to continue our business because I know Kevin has so much more to give.  We make a great team and I look forward to seeing how we grow in the future.”