Oil’s Well: Inside Winston-Salem’s Oil Industry
Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change, a Winston-Salem-based company, is one of the fastest-growing in the United States.
Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change has locations across the country and could be based anywhere, but for founder and CEO Justin Strickland, there’s no better place than Winston-Salem.
Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the United States. Founded in 2016, the company operates more than 100 stores in 20 states and has contracted for more than 242 franchise locations projected to open by 2024, with the help of a partnership with commercial real estate firm Linville Team Partners.
In an innovative partnership, Linville Team Partners has worked with the Strickland Brothers team since their infancy. Strickland Brothers originally engaged Linville Team Partners to help bridge the gap between Strickland Brothers’ aggressive growth plan and a complex real estate process. As a result, Linville Team Partners manages the full life cycle of all real estate transactions for Strickland Brothers, including market research, site selection, site development, mergers and acquisitions, and site dispositions.
“It has been an honor to work with a local, growing company like Strickland Brothers,” says Aubrey Linville, partner at Linville Team Partners. “Justin and his entire team are tremendous to work alongside, and we are thankful for the trust they’ve placed in Linville Team Partners to help them meet their goals.”
According to Strickland, the company has thrived in the Winston-Salem area’s healthy, vibrant business climate. “Winston-Salem has been featured in several publications for the greatest places to start a business,” Strickland says. “It is big enough where we have a talent pool to recruit from, several universities to add talent from, and tremendous economic growth to sell products and services, yet it is small enough to where you aren’t just a cog. Your business matters to the local municipalities.”
Dream Becomes Reality
A graduate of Davidson-Davie Community College, Strickland developed his business plan for Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change while gaining firsthand experience as a hood technician, performing tasks like pulling drain plugs, adding oil and changing oil filters.
Ready to pursue his dream, he approached several banks for startup financing but was turned down. Finally, his grandfather, a tobacco sharecropper, offered the family home as collateral. After the company’s launch, Strickland’s grandfather, C.W. Strickland, enjoyed sitting on a bench outside that first location drinking coffee.
“With an insane work ethic, and an absolute commitment to personal and professional development combined with a team-first mentality, anything is possible.”
Justin Strickland, Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change
That’s why today you’ll find a “PawPaw’s Bench” outside every Strickland Brothers store. Strickland’s grandfather’s values are the foundation of the business: servant leadership, humility, ambition, reliability and professionalism.
Putting his years of experience to good use, Strickland created Strickland Brothers University and personally scripted every course in the e-learning curriculum that is used to train employees. As a result, franchisees find what Strickland considers to be a recession-resilient business model that is simple, scalable and proven.
Quick lube automotive is an $8 billion industry. There are almost 300 million registered vehicles in the United States. Sooner or later, each of those vehicles requires maintenance. The quick-service industry averages 3.2 oil changes per car per year.
The company gives back to its communities through a number of initiatives, such as the Community Hero program, which supports educators, police, fire, EMS, health care workers and animal care workers. Its Make a Change program is another initiative that provides ongoing support to the Alzheimer’s Association and Autism Speaks.
“We care about our families, our neighbors and our communities. That’s what makes us different,” Strickland says.
Strickland Brothers have attracted the interest of franchisees eager to join the company, but others outside the industry have also noticed the company’s success. As a result, Strickland was named 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast by Ernst & Young (EY).
“We have had tremendous support and encouragement from our local community,” Strickland says.
The award is “living proof that with an insane work ethic, and an absolute commitment to personal and professional development combined with a team-first mentality, anything is possible,” he says. “One of the greatest pleasures in life is doing things that others say you can’t.”
Even more recently, in August 2022, Strickland Enterprises was ranked No. 504 on Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies in America list.
Today, Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change has more than 50 people working in its Winston-Salem headquarters and continues to create jobs as more locations open across the country.
“We are adding a new job about every two or three business days for the last several years, totaling nearly 800 jobs,” Strickland says.
If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem.