On Being a “Christian Brother”

Christian Brothers Automotive – Argyle, TX

Not everybody has the right attitude to become an entrepreneur, much less the added ingredient needed to succeed as a serial business developer. Robert Lowe, the owner of Christian Brothers Automotive in Argyle, acquired a taste for entrepreneurship at 25.

“I’ve worked in automotive parts and repair since I was 16,” Lowe explained. “I’ve never worked as a mechanic, but I am mechanically inclined. My brain says anything that’s broken or isn’t working properly – or maybe just doesn’t look right – must be fixed.

“My first auto repair business came when I was 25. I was successful, but most importantly, it showed me what I could do. I realized I felt completely comfortable functioning under my own direction, and I didn’t need anyone else to guarantee my future.”

True entrepreneurs, such as Lowe, can be baffling to those who don’t march to the same beat. Situations they view as opportunities, the rest of us see as risks. That means, later in life, we look back and say, “I wish I had,” while the entrepreneur says, “I did.”

Frequently, serial entrepreneurs don’t select a niche and stay with it. Most, by their nature, have a sense of adventure and a need to explore and learn.

“My next venture was a seven-year stint working for someone else,” Robert continued. “The company was in California. Basically, it was an advertising service for car dealerships’ service departments. We went from 500 dealership clients to 7,000 during those seven years. That’s where I met my wife, Cindy. The company was sold eventually, and we returned to Texas.”

The Lowes arrived in Texas expecting their first child, and Robert needed to decide on a work direction.

“I wanted a work-from-home dynamic,” he said. “I landed on an online real estate school, where we sold courses for real estate licenses and continuing education. We did very well and sold the company after 18 years.”

What did Lowe know about real estate? Well, that’s another thing about successful entrepreneurs. They’re curious. They’re open to new discoveries. They love to learn.

“A partner and I bought an Anytime Fitness franchise in 2013 while I still had the real estate school,” he continued. “We sold it in 2019.

“I wanted to return to automotives, and I looked at several possibilities. Nothing seemed to fit after doing due diligence on several different brands, and then the engine in my dad’s truck blew up.”

The engine became a camouflage for a stroke of divine intervention.

“My step-mom asked me to have it towed to the local Christian Brothers Automotive. I did and I fell in love with the place. The building and the staff were welcoming. Everything was beautifully organized with the latest digital technology. I knew I was home.”

Lowe called corporate, learning Texas was built-out for Christian Brothers locations. Then he was told one of his distant cousins had two Christian Brothers shops in DFW. For the next eight months, he worked full-time in one of those stores to learn the brand.

“I sold service, shuttled customers, whatever needed to be done. About one year into the process, Cindy and I attended ‘Discovery Day’ with corporate leadership. Eventually, we were approved as franchisees.    That all came together through God’s will.”                                                              

What makes Christian Brothers Automotive so perfect for Lowe?

“They put people before profits,” he answered. “Sure. It’s a business, and they must make a profit, but, in turn, the goal is to use that money to make peoples’ lives better. One of the company’s sayings is ‘Fixing cars, driving joy.’ I love that!

“We dig wells in Africa. We renovate peoples’ homes. We have a multi-million-dollar Neighborly Fund that pays for repairing cars for people who don’t have the means.

“There’s an atmosphere of joy throughout. I believe the culture of any business starts at the top and filters down. We’re closed on weekends. Our people are paid well. They receive bonuses but we’re not driven by commissions. Being Christian is not a requirement, but we do want everyone on the same page with the company’s ‘give back’ philosophies.”

Will Christian Brothers be 60-year-old Lowe’s final adventure?

“Absolutely!” he answered. “My goal is to open two, possibly three, more shops over the next 10 to 15 years. Our youngest daughter is heading off to college this fall. We’ll be empty-nesters and plan to do some traveling in our later years.”            

Being part of the Christian Brothers family provides Lowe with a sense of peaceful purpose. The company walks the talk with firm conviction and, for the entire corporate family, “Fixing cars and driving joy” brings its own rewards.

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