Mother’s Day has always had a very special meaning to one franchise owner in the Moran Family of Brands franchise system.
Susan Trumble owns the Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care store in Florence, Kentucky and has raised her son, Wyatt, around the business all his life. In fact, she clearly remembers when the challenges of impending motherhood and running the business crossed paths hours before Wyatt was born in 2000.
Susan went into labor at the store, but before leaving for the hospital, she told her staff what needed to be done while she would be away. Susan admitted it was an overwhelming time but credits her dedicated staff that has been there for a long time in helping her get through.
Without a center manager, Susan needed to return to the store just two weeks after delivering Wyatt and she brought him with her each day. She was later able to get assistance from her parents before placing him in daycare when he was six weeks old.
Although there were plenty of demands in running the business, there were also many times Susan needed to take off work to be with her son. Being a mother always comes first and her staff has been great about handling things in her absence.
“It wouldn’t be possible without them,” she said.
Many of those long-term staff members have been around since Wyatt was born and have seen him grow up firsthand over the years. Having a mom who owns a store was a lot of fun, according to Wyatt, who is now 18 and working at his father’s construction business.
“I loved going to the shop as a kid,” said Wyatt. “I liked seeing the guys. They’ve been there forever, and I’ve known them a long time. I look at them as family to me.”
Over the years, Wyatt has seen a lot about the business world and learned even more about his mother. In high school, he began referring his friends who were driving to have work done on their cars at his mother’s store. He also featured Mr. Transmission/Milex as part of his marketing class in his senior year and created banners and websites showcasing the store.
“My mom is the most important person in my life. She has always been there for me. We’ve always had such a strong connection, and I guess you could say I’m a mama’s boy,” said Wyatt.
He also appreciates how his mother has excelled in an industry dominated by men and has overcome negative stereotypes about how much a woman knows about car repair. Many times over the years Susan has dealt with skeptical looks or requests from customers to speak to a man about service on their vehicle.
“I’m extremely proud of her an everything she does,” Wyatt says. “I think it is kind of funny when people don’t expect her to know that much about cars and then she surprises them and proves them wrong.”
With both of his parents constantly busy operating their businesses, Wyatt said they often wouldn’t get home until 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening. He said he didn’t see that as a bad thing, as it helped teach him to be independent and self-sufficient – and having busy schedules never hurt their relationship. In fact, having two parents who have their own businesses has likely been a positive influence on his career.
“He has seen both his parents being business owners and wants to own a business himself,” said Susan. “I told my husband that we have sucked him in after watching us. I don’t think a typical 18-year old can handle the things he does, but he is not a typical 18-year old.”
Not that the Trumbles are all work and no play. This Mother’s Day, Susan says that the family will likely be at a houseboat on Lake Cumberland. She and her sister bought the boat several years ago, and their families often spend time there together water skiing, water tubing and fishing.
“It’s a good place for the entire family to get together and relax,” said Susan. “We enjoy the heck out of spending time out on the lake on our house boat. It is our reprieve.”
Being able to unwind and spend quality time together is important to Susan after balancing owning a successful business and being a full-time mother for close to 20 years.
“I’ve always said Wyatt makes my heart smile,” said Susan. “I am exceptionally proud of him. He’s my pride and joy.”