In the 1980s, Colley Stowell (who later became co-founder, President & CEO of RPM Automotive) was operating Gas Stations for Exxon USA and decided to open his first independent Station (Beauclerc EXXon). The next year the Chevron station across the street approached him to run it. Soon partners, Colley and Gary Ledford, were operating multiple locations…geographically stretching from the Beaches to Baldwin. Colley’s inspiration of Car Care with Integrity was first shared with the team assembled to run these locations, Gus Shage, John Morin, and Bobby Thomas, were motivated to create something more.
In the 1990s and the 2000s, the operation’s focus and efforts seemed to depend too much on the fuel side of the business, and the pressure from major fuel brands to convert repair facilities into twenty-four hour convenience stores. As the years went on, Gus and John launched out to a standalone repair shop. While the Service stations were still a great community business. The dream of an automotive repair shop with the facilities, technology, and service of a dealership, combined with the neighborhood trust and familiar service staff started to emanate in Colley’s thoughts. At the end of the 90s, Colley had an idea for a way to break through this barrier by creating an automotive repair business that would offer the highest technology available, with the best technicians, serving the community with integrity. This was the vision.
In 2001, this vision came to light. The original team was re-united by the motivation to deliver “Car Care with Integrity”. The first location was built on Phillips Highway, and the founding team saw their doors open to the Jacksonville community as RPM Automotive for the first time. Most of the team figured their goal had been achieved, but Colley saw the need and potential for more. Recognizing how large Jacksonville and the surrounding areas were, the next shop built was San Marco RPM on Emerson & Old St Augustine Rd. Strategically identifying areas of town, the quest was on to expand RPM Automotive throughout Northeast Florida. It was at this time Gary Schumacher (a former customer) joined the organization, with similar desires and life philosophies; the team was fulfilled and the business model was established.
In 16 short years, RPM Automotive, has expanded to 10 locations. Strategically located throughout the city, in the pursuit to conveniently serve the entirety of Northeast Florida.
These ten facilities embody RPM Automotive’s dreams, goals and standards. Each location provides comfortable waiting areas, Wi-Fi enabled lounges, ASE certified technicians, a high caliber leadership team and state of the art computer diagnosis which enable the servicing of all makes and models…a true alternative to the dealerships. The locations are convenient, AAA approved, factory trained, and offer inhouse rental cars when needed.
In 2019, Colley and his group sold RPM Automotive’s assets to a division of Pep Boys. After nearly 40 years in the gasoline industry, Colley was ready to ride off into the sunset. While Colley is gone now, RPM remains committed to providing ‘Car Care with Integrity.’