Greg Honke seems like he’s too young to be a 20-year business owner, but sure enough, Greg’s Auto Detailing will have been around that long come January.
Every year, hundreds of cars go through Honke’s garage on the east side of Sarnia. Often he stays late. The way Honke tells it, working the detailing shop has been less like working a small business and more like working a decades-long passion project.
On the eve of his 20th year in business, Honke, 44 says he has no plans to slow down.
“I’ve been in business since 1999 but I’ve been doing this since I was a kid,” Honke laughed, keeping busy during a relatively quiet Christmas Eve. “(Back then) I was charging cheap money to clean cars. I wanted to see what you could do with them.”
Not much has changed since those days, when Honke was a student at Alexander Mackenzie. It’s a good school to learn trades, he said; he was never good at traditional school subjects, but working in the garage sparked something in him. He started his detailing business at 24.
Honke talks about his work just as much like an artist than a mechanic.
“It’s fun to take something like that (and) make it something, to see the customer come in and say ‘wow’,” Honke said. He talks about his work with a humble pride. “The attention to detail, that’s what people like to see.”
It’s possible Honke doesn’t work another two decades. Detailing is a surprisingly rigorous job, and working overtime isn’t something Honke wants to do forever. But as long as business keeps coming through his door there’s no telling when he’ll stop.
“I’d rather work for myself than work for someone else,” he added. “I still like it. I drive a nice car; it’s not a BMW or a Jaguar or anything like that but it looks good. And I paint it all myself.”