A few months ago, I did a story on Tim Gangl a local Farmland Realtor®. During that interview I discovered that Tim also owns another business with his wife Patti and their sons Jonathon and Joel. I decided to go deeper into the family business with an interview with Joel Gangl and Jonathon Gangl at their shop in West Concord.
Tim originally started the business in 2001 as Hot Rod Hardware, a reseller of aftermarket classic auto parts, in a building out on the family farm. After some time, Tim began working on classic car restorations and building street rods as well. In 2009, he decided to move the business off the farm. He settled on West Concord and built the building at their current location. After moving into the new building Tim eventually went away from the classic car restoration and turned to auto body collision under the name West Concord Collision. Soon after, Tim added Truck Day Cab Conversions. This is the process of converting a semi-truck with a sleeper to non-sleeper or day-cab truck. Though Tim has moved a large portion of his time to farmland real estate, he has brought his sons into this family business with them covering most all operations.
Jonathon and Joel both started in the business from an early age, Jonathon explained this more; “With Hot Rod Hardware starting on the family farm, it was part of our everyday life. Different from other families where the parents go off to work every day.” Aside from going to various car shows with Tim to sell parts, their real responsibilities began later and moved them into the positions they are working today. Jonathon started out in 7th grade by answering the phone, doing clerical work, and cleaning the shop. Joel started working in the shop at the age of 14 and would detail cars, clean up around the shop, and learn the basics of body work from other employees working at the time.
After high school Jonathon chose to go to college, where he majored in accounting and business management. Although he was gone, Jonathon was still very involved with the business working on various projects through college. He even managed a crew of his college friends who worked on the Hot Rod Hardware website every week for extra income. Joel chose a different route. After graduating high school at the beginning of the Covid Pandemic and considering the experience he had in the shop as well as his own parts sales experience in the business, he decided to move right into a shop technician roll. He now does everything from painting and body work on cars to day-cabbing semi-trucks. Jonathon focuses on the parts sales for Hot Rod Hardware, as well as doing estimates and ordering parts for West Concord Collision and Day Cab Conversions.
Even though Jonathon’s work has been focused on the office, I asked if he had ever experienced working in the shop? “My experience started by repairing a snowmobile hood that I had crashed when I was in my early teens. I did all the body work, and painted it.” This opened Jonathon’s eyes to how mechanics of the shop runs, and the work involved in getting a job done. Later, while home from college for Christmas vacation he did a day cab conversion that added to his experience.
With so many different things going on every day I asked how they balance their responsibilities. Who handles what and how do you not step on each other’s toes? Joel said; “Everyone has a good understanding of what their jobs are making it easy to understand who will be doing what work”. Jonathon said “There is a level of trust we have in each other knowing that the other will handle his job. Joel trusts that I will have parts here for him and I trust that Joel will do the job correctly.” I asked, with how different their jobs are, how much time do you spend working together? According to Jonathon “More often than not things are constantly changing and the communication between us helps us understand what needs to take priority or needs to change to get the job done efficiently, we mostly stay in our own area of the business.”
I asked each of them what their favorite part of working in the business was, and it came down to this “Growing up at our home in the country, we spent plenty of time together. We enjoy working as a team, the arguments (because what family doesn't argue?), and the work in general.”
At the end of our visit, I asked the boys what they really wanted the readers to learn about the business. "We are a business willing to go the extra mile", said Jonathon confidently. "We don't just do this work for the money, we do it because we enjoy it. We all own old vehicles that we work on, and Joel and Dad own or have owned semi-trucks. The business is like another part of our family. Like any relative, it has its moments, but at the end of the day it is what we enjoy doing, and it has brought us closer as a family."
Well, there you have it. A family-owned business that takes great pride in a job well done, and operates a business that they love. See why I enjoy writing about these guys? They make me feel good as a reporter, bringing you information on a business you can count on! Happy New year from the Messenger staff!