Fairmont Entrepreneur Aims To Fill A Void In Small Engine Repair Local news
FAIRMONT – Over the past five months, Joe Beafore has learned that there is no such thing as a great time to start a business.
âOriginally, I was a union [drill rig] operator of Local 132, then when COVID hit it all dried up and there wasn’t a lot of work so I had to do something to support the family â, a- he declared.
Weeks after his layoff, Beafore took a job at a small engine repair shop in Morgantown, but left because he disagreed with the owner’s treatment of his customers.
âIt didn’t go well,â he said.
So in June 2021, Beafore decided to go it alone and formed Mountain Top Small Engine Repair LLC from his home off Bunner Ridge. He didn’t know it at the time, but Beafore is one of more than 150,000 American entrepreneurs who decided to start their own businesses that month, according to business training statistics from the US Census Bureau.
Census data shows that in the first nine months of 2021, 1,396,800 applications were made to start new businesses, a 41% jump from the same period in 2019.
Having repaired small engines since he was a teenager, Beafore felt the time and opportunity were just clicked. (The first engine he rebuilt was his own DT250 Yamaha off-road motorcycle.)
âI’ve worked on this stuff pretty much my whole life,â Beafore said. âMy dad was into this stuff. He helped me build motors and stuff when I was a kid.
âHe helped me build my first engine for my first vehicle because I wanted something that I could build and work on and that’s what I did,â he continued.
Another aspect that played a role in Beafore’s decision to start his own business was the closure last year of Frederick’s Small Engine Repair at Fairmont.
âWhen they closed there was nowhere to go,â Beafore said. âEveryone had to go to Clarksburg or Morgantown and I thought of myself doing what I’m doing, opening up to the community to help the community so they don’t have to travel this far . “
Beafore said he got his first client using social media and then told his girlfriend about it.
âIn fact, his family were my first clients,â he said. âAh, it’s been slow here last month, sure it’s that time of year, but all summer I’ve been pretty stable all summer,â he said.
And, so far, Beafore has built strong relationships with its clients.
Jesse Shroyer, of Fairmont, lives only a few miles from the Beafore store at 206 Tom Moran Lane. One day, Shroyer saw Beafore’s business sign and called him. To date, Beafore has repaired at least six pieces of equipment for Shroyer.
âI keep finding things to bring him and I keep telling people about him,â Shroyer said. “Its price is reasonable and its work is good and it comes back cleaner than it was when I brought it to it.” I would recommend it to anyone.
Beafore said he would quote a potential customer the cost of repairing his mower or other two- or four-stroke engine with original and aftermarket parts. Its goal, he says, is to give the customer the best possible price.
Fairmont’s Dave Carpenter said his repair job was even more complex than finding genuine parts. He said Beafore had called “across the country” to try to find the right part for Carpenter’s Gravely tractor.
âHe’s gone way beyond that,â Carpenter said, admitting that Beafore fills a void at Fairmont. âI am a returning customer. “
According to Census Bureau data, the number of small start-ups has slowed since June 2021, but the good news, officials said, is that the start-up trend is exciting because it indicates this economic recovery will be more robust than recovery after 2008. Great recession.
Over the next few months, Beafore is looking to expand and open a store in Fairmont to provide more convenience to customers “and have a storefront, stock parts and inventory and be a reseller of some sort.”
Contact Eric Cravey at 304-367-2523.