Mack Garage

Trust Your Mechanic at the Mack Garage

349A 29B4


Judith McMillan

Judith McMillan


Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management


David Cooperrider

David Cooperrider

Global Goals

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 10. Reduced Inequalities 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

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Mack Garage's business model provides low-cost auto repair services, a nice clean shop where nothing is wasted, and used car engine oil is recycled to heat the building in winter.

Honest business practices in a diverse economic setting
Integrity of work
Use Volunteers
Relationships with neighborhood
Christian Faith Integrated in Business Model


The Mack Garage has a few innovations. One is that they utilize volunteers to help keep the shop clean and offering customers a pick-up and drop-off service. The owners are Christian and feel it is their calling to provide honest work for the community. Eric, a former pastor, gave up that ministry setting to work as a mechanic. He worked his way through seminary in Boston working in a garage. He loves it. Nate went to school for engineering at U-M and the owners met and connected at their church. They each shared a passion for working on cars and agreed they'd like to start a business. The garage began out of Eric's small, home garage. Now, they have a business model that provides low-cost auto repair services, a nice clean shop where nothing is wasted, and used engine oil is recycled to heat the building in winter. They meet their neighbors, learn their stories, and trade services when they can. Eric and Nate say the business is profitable in a city where people can be often overlooked or mistreated. One woman came to them after she had gotten repairs done at a cost of $600 with a mechanic who took advantage of her. He damaged her frame and it had to go to the junkyard. If she had heard of the Mack Garage, they could have fixed her car for less and she'd still be driving it. People walk in with these stories every day. Their goal is to ad an alignment rack so they can grow the business and provide even more services. They are busy every day.

Trust Your Mechanic at the Mack Garage


Eric and Nate both feel this is a mission and calling to service the city of Detroit. A friend in their church who had a Harvard Business degree offered some advice to help them be profitable. They have striven to be the best mechanics they can and love to learn. "If the customer doesn't need it, we won't recommend it," says Eric. And, "...I want someone to be safe on the road. I will tell them the minimum that would keep them safe if they cannot afford to get it all fixed at once. We will work out a deal." Eric goes on to say that his faith has shaped this business. "As a Christian I'm to glorify Christ and God. We treat people with fairness and integrity, try our best to save people money."

Overall impact

With the arrival of Eric and Nate, what was once a privately owned shop became a garage for one of Detroit's poorer neighborhoods. With very little advertising, clients started coming by word of mouth. Friends told friends to come to the garage where they would meet honest mechanics who cared. Reviews on Yelp and a small website tell of the mission to provide service often at cost so people could get their cars back on the road. One single mother took her car in to Eric. He shared that her car would not start. They found her battery needed replacing. Then they noticed she had no oil in her engine. When that was fixed, they noticed her older car needed a new suspension. They worked within her budget and got her car running to where it was safe to drive. Then, when she could afford to redo it completely, she came back to them. The owners have many stories of people who have visited other garages and have not left with fixes, but more problems. Eric and Nate promise their customers that they will tell them what is wrong, how they can fix it, and what the true cost is. Many of the cars they see are older with 150,000-200,000 miles on them.

Business benefit

One of the benefits of a local business is the relationships with its neighbors. One man who lives behind the garage mows their lawn and provides some security by keeping watch on the business. No one has broken in yet. Another professional security service in one neighborhood over stops by to use the restroom as there aren't many places for that. They've traded pit-stops for another pair of eyes. The owners shop for local car parts at other neighborhood owned businesses to keep the money local. Imagine walking into a garage and being greeted by men of faith who feel deeply that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Care is their main concern. The fun is working together to fix your car, get you a solid product, and get you on your way again. Eric and Nate were busy working on several cars when I arrived and their volunteer, Paul, showed me around until they had time to talk. All had stories of how they have helped people not only get their cars back on the road, but how one person was given groceries, another directions, and another new tires put on for no cost. Their mission is to care for the neighborhood as they provide quality mechanical services.

Social and environmental benefit

The social benefit, as alluded to above, is an integrated business model where the mechanics are actively meeting those who live in the neighborhood. Friendships develop and services are traded. Another benefit is environmental. Last winter they heated the garage solely on recycled oil. As Paul says, "most garages recycle all their metal. We also recycle our oil and use it to heat the garage." Using a "Clean Burn" system, they are reducing their waste.

Eric and Nate work with locally owned car part and tire shops in the neighborhood where they share customers. Eric says "I've got a lot of good relationships with the people here. We honestly care about the people we serve and live near."

Across the street is a ministry they are affiliated with. Some of the work being done in Detroit is volunteer based with the Mack Garage.


Paul Malesyt, Eric Neilsen, Nate Shoemaker, Co-Owners, Eric and Nate; Volunteer, Paul

Photo of interviewee

Business information

Mack Garage

Mack Garage

Detroit, MI, US
Business Website:
Year Founded: 2013
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Mack Garage in Detroit has a vision "to repair all makes and models with integrity for a below market value price." The owners, Eric and Nate, co-founded Mack Garage with the intent of making a difference in the city of Detroit. Their website explains it best: We Intend to Treat People with the Utmost Dignity and Perform Repair Services with Great Clarity and Honesty.