Argentinian native Armando Tavani took a leap of faith to achieve his dream of business ownership when he opened his co-branded Milex Complete Auto Care/Mr. Transmission franchise in South Florida in May.
Opening a business is never easy, but tackling a new endeavor during a pandemic and as an immigrant proved to be challenging. During his early career in Buenos Aires, Tavani dreamed of opening a business in the United States. Prior to coming to this country, Tavani spent 10 years working in real estate, where he bought, sold, and rented properties. His real estate tenure solidified his resolve to pursue business ownership in America. He believed operating a business in Buenos Aires and facing the possibility of losing all of his money was far too risky.
Tavani achieved his dream when he opened his Milex/Mr. Transmission location in Margate, Florida on May 3. The new auto repair shop is located in a refurbished facility. The 3,000 square-foot location features six car bays. His auto repair shop offers customers in the area a comprehensive selection of repair and maintenance services. Milex provides customers with preventative maintenance services such as oil changes, brake repair, radiator and cooling system service, and engine repair, along with a full range of diagnostic services. Mr. Transmission specializes in repair and installation of a vehicle’s transmission systems and drivetrain components. Initially, Tavani hired a manager and two technicians. He planned to add a transmission builder and additional technicians after the business took off.
“Moving to the United States has been a great experience. I'm delighted to provide an essential service to people in Margate,” Tavani said. “To become my own boss, I had to close my eyes, jump and hope for the best. We opened our doors on May 3, and we've already had a great response to the brand and the wide variety of services we provide car owners.”
New Business Owner Conquers Pandemic Challenges
While Tavani achieved his vision to become an entrepreneur in the U.S., the journey to business ownership was fraught with challenges. He signed his franchise agreement with Moran Family of Brands, the parent company of Milex/Mr. Transmission, in 2019. He arrived in the U.S. to get his business up and running on March 9, 2020, just days before the spread of COVID shut down the country. Tavani originally had planned on staying in the U.S. for several months alone before traveling back to Argentina in June to help his wife and young daughter make the move to Florida.
New pandemic travel restrictions meant he might not be able to return to the U.S. if he left the country. Fearing his business would fail if he was unable to return from Argentina, he moved up his timeline. Tavani acted quickly and was able to get his family into the country shortly after his arrival. He spent the next year finding a site for his business. The first site he picked to launch his auto repair shop fell through when the landlord requested a large deposit because of Tavani’s immigrant status.
Tavani was initially able to secure a six-month visa to work in the U.S. and later received an extension. Delays in opening the shop and proving ownership meant he could not return to Buenos Aires to apply for a permanent visa until this February. COVID exacerbated the problem because the American consulate in Argentina adopted stricter visa regulations to slow down the surge of people moving to the U.S. during the pandemic, Tavani said. Visa challenges made it necessary for Tavani to invest his savings in the business without being assured he would be able to obtain the proper paperwork to stay in the country permanently. Despite the risk, Tavani had his sights set on Florida and moved forward with his plans to pursue a future in auto repair.
Franchising Offers Roadmap to Success
Tavani opted to open a franchise to capitalize on brand recognition. As one of the leading franchisors in the automotive aftermarket industry, Moran offers proven and recognized brands with flexibility to allow franchise owners to flourish. The company’s franchisees strive to create a higher standard of excellence for automotive repair service and focus on becoming integral members of their communities. As a new arrival to the U.S., Tavani had a challenging time mastering the new language. He had learned English as a child, but speaking it on a daily basis was difficult. Luckily, southern Florida has a large Hispanic population which helped Tavani and his family start putting down roots and make positive contributions to their new community.
“South Florida is an important area of expansion and having a bilingual franchisee is an asset in this area,” said Peter Baldine, President of Moran Family of Brands. “Armando Tavani's passion for business ownership and the miles he traveled to succeed shows his commitment to the Moran team.”
Learn More About Moran
If you are inspired by Tavani’s dedication to business ownership and want to learn more about pursuing a future in the aftermarket auto industry as an entrepreneur, request information to learn more about owning a Moran franchise.