Everything Evan du Preez knows about cars, he’s learnt hands-on in an 18-year journey that’s seen him go from workshop apprentice to the owner of a brand new car service business that will open its doors on Wednesday 1 November 2017.
Located in Albany Street, EC’s Fit & Go in Albany Road will offer wheel alignment, checking and fixing suspension and tyre fitment. It will also sell tyres, batteries and suspension parts.
The 31-year-old was born in Port Elizabeth but grew up in Grahamstown and started working at the age of 18, serving beers at a local tavern. At 21 he started work at Metro warehouse, helping with deliveries.
Evan was passionate about cars but didn’t know anything about fixing them. So when in 2009 the chance came up for a fulltime apprenticeship in an established vehicle repair workshop, he jumped at it.
“My boss taught me everything from scratch,” he said.
The father of an 11-month-old daughter, he says his wife inspired him to start his own business.
“I’d thought of starting my own business but I didn’t know where I was going to get money for capital. I sold my car and with help from a few friends and family the idea came into realisation,” said Evan.
He has employed a team of four and is very aware that starting up the business not only means making money for himself, but also paying other people’s salaries.
“I don’t care about making money – I just want to lend a helping hand and play my part in hiring unemployed youth in my community. If I can help people put food on their tables for their families then I will be content with my work,” he said. He expects to employ more people as the business grows.
Evan says apart from that, he’s determined to prove his detractors wrong.
“People want to do things but are afraid of starting up because they fear failing and care about what people will say. But that is part of growing: one can only know their strengths through trying and taking risks. If things don’t work out, then they were not meant to be – try something else,” Evan says.
The EC’s fit & go owner says the opening day looks promising, with more than 10 cars already booked to be serviced. He says he knows a lot of Grahamstown residents and that he believes they’ll support his business. He appeals to the Grahamstown community to give him a chance as he finds his feet. “Come and support me and look out for the specials on the opening day,” says Evan.