One local business is doing its part to give back to service men and women by providing a complimentary vehicle service this Veterans Day.
Auto repair shop Midas Granbury, 1441 N. Plaza Drive, will offer free oil changes to veterans from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.
“This is where it starts. This is the beginning,” said Robert Rangel, owner of Midas Granbury. “We have historically done other things for veterans. Before I owned the shop, (we) used to give away state inspections sometimes to veterans on certain occasions. Then, we gave away a truck to a veteran a few years ago.”
In 2021, Midas Granbury gave away a red 2009 Chevy Silverado pickup to Marine veteran James Farrell as part of its Project Spark program.
“We buy vehicles that are probably too expensive to repair, and then we get vendors to donate parts, we donate the labor, we get it fixed, and then we donate the truck,” Rangel previously told the HCN. “This particular one (was given) to a vet who doesn’t have a way to get to work anymore.”
The creation of the free oil change event, however, was the brainchild of recently hired store manager and veteran Bryan Blackheart.
"As a veteran myself, for the last many years, a lot of places do things to help veterans out, especially during Veterans Day, to bring awareness to the sacrifices that veterans have made over the years, from any war and any era,” Blackheart explained.
The free oil change is for one vehicle per family with a maximum value of $49.99, which includes a maximum of five quarts of synthetic blend oil. Full synthetic oil and diesel oil are extra, while supplies last.
"It's whatever marks up to 50 bucks, so other than that, they would have to pay the difference," Blackheart said, who served in the Army for nine years and the Air Force for 11. "It’s first come, first served and no appointments. We expect we can handle about 80 vehicles that day.”
Rangel, who has no history of serving in the military, explained that his mom worked for the VA (Veterans Affairs) her entire career, serving as chief of psychology at the Dallas VA Medical Center.
“She's been giving back to veterans her entire life. She specialized in studying PTSD, finding treatments, and helping people,” Rangel said. “I love giving back to the community, but I'm also curious to see how we can get 80 cars done in a day. It's gonna be all hands on deck."
To qualify for the free oil change, veterans must be present at Midas Granbury on the 11th and must show a valid form of ID, like a military or a veteran’s ID, or a DD Form 214 (a certificate of release or discharge from active duty).
Rangel said if this event brings a good turnout, Midas Granbury will also offer this event again in the future.
“I definitely think we'd like to do more events in general,” he said. “You'll see us doing more things.”
Rangel has been the owner of Midas Granbury since November 2019, with his main goal of giving back and providing customers with quality care and satisfaction.
“I really like the brand,” he said. “I like what we have to offer, and what we have to give customers. We've got nationwide warranties on a lot of parts, and we're always giving back to veterans. Actually, if you're a veteran and you want to open a Midas, they waive, I think, almost all the franchise fees.”
Blackheart has only been employed at Midas Granbury for a few months, but he said Rangel has already given him the leeway to assist families if needed.
"It isn't just veterans,” he said. “If there's a family that needs help, I have the right and permission already to just go ahead and take care of it. I've done it already a few times where I'll either nix the bill completely and let them go or just (ask them) ‘How much can you afford?’ and that's what it will be. That right there is the difference between a straight corporation and a mom and pop (business). Even though this is a corporate store, it's still run like a mom and pop (business), so we have that leverage that we can do.”
Rangel said it’s a tough retail business to be in, because to customers, car service is normally a “grudge purchase.”
"Most people don't wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want to spend my paycheck fixing my car,’ so they're already walking in unhappy to be here, so we try to turn that experience around," Rangel explained. “If you're gonna have to do it, you might as well be treated right and make sure you get good quality (service).”
Blackheart added that Midas Granbury will also provide courtesy vehicles for people in the case of a large repair, so customers won’t have to find alternate means of transportation while their car is being serviced.
“We're actually thinking about expanding that fleet, so we have more vehicles available,” Blackheart added.
Rangel added that most mom and pop businesses have longer wait times due to a small staff. However, for Midas, he said he usually tells his customers to come in on that same day.
“Obviously some days are busier than others, but we want people — when they have an issue — to be able to get it fixed quickly,” he said.
Rangel said he is hoping for a big turnout for Midas Granbury’s first Veterans Day event.
For more information, call Midas Granbury at 817-776-8372, or visit midas.com online.