Brotherly bond leads to business success
For brothers Orlando and George Cortes, opening an auto repair shop in Quincy when they were barely beginning their 20s was hard work.
He noticed a look some customers would give them when they realized how young they were, recalled Orlando Cortes, the big brother of the pair.
And they didn’t have much money to get their auto shop started, added George Cortes, the more talkative of the two. The beginning meant long hours and relying on word-of-mouth advertising to get business in the door, he said.
However, only three years after the Cortes brothers opened their doors on Division Street, Bros Auto Clinic is going strong. The brothers are a little older (Orlando is now 25 and George is 22). They are a little wiser. (They are both family men now). And they are a heck of a lot busier.
“If we had a bigger shop, I’m pretty sure it would be full,” said George, as he recently spoke in a shop crowded with trucks and cars.
In three years, the brothers have been able to build a solid reputation for themselves.
Local farmer and businessman Anthony Gonzales said he’s been going to Bros Auto for a while now because the brothers are good about responding to emergency calls when he has a vehicle or piece of equipment broken down.
That means a lot to farmers, who have little time to spare from May to November, Gonzales said.
He knows he can rely on Bros Auto, Gonzales said.
“They go above and beyond what’s expected of them,” Gonzales said.
Clemente Corona, store manager of QMS Auto Supply in Quincy, has known the brothers for several years. When Orlando worked at QMS for eight years, he was always good with customers, Corona added.
The brothers are in his store often picking up parts, Corona said.
“They’re quite the characters,” Corona said.
Corona hears of the brothers doing charity work for people on occasion. He’s hoping that one day they open a second location and continue to be successful.
“They’re good customers and good friends,” Corona said. “They’re good people.”
The Cortes brothers moved from Colorado to Quincy as children, later graduating from Quincy High School. Before the family moved to Washington, their father owned an auto shop, so the brothers were raised in a shop, they said.
Along with growing up around cars, the brothers come from a family of entrepreneurs. Their mother and sisters also are small business owners.
So starting a business seemed like a natural fit, they said. And it was even more natural to go into business together.
“We’re always together,” George said.
“He’s my best friend,” Orlando said of his younger brother.
Looking back on the beginning of their business, the brothers talked about how their shop once seemed like such a large space that they would never fill. When they did get their first customer, they weren’t too eager to let the truck back out the door because it would mean returning to an empty shop.
“We didn’t want to finish it up,” George said.
Today, Bros Auto is booked about a couple of weeks out. The brothers do a wide variety of work, from working on motors and transmissions to fixing electrical problems. They work on everything from cars to semi-trucks. While they have many farming customers, they do not work on farm implements. Their customers come from as far as Wenatchee and Ephrata and everything in between.
The brothers are doing so well that they purchased their first semi-truck and are expanding into the hauling business. They’ve started a second business called Bros Trucking and hope to one day have a large fleet. Future plans also call for expanding the auto shop and adding employees.
“We’re going to be somebody big in this world,” Orlando said.
Now that they have three years under their belt, what kind of advice do the veteran business owners pass along to others?
“When it gets hard, don’t give up,” George said. “If you just work through it, everything gets better.”
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com