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Friday, 22 May 2020 21:06

Kendall Performance & Repair on How Mentorship Has Helped as a Small Business Owner

Written by Paul Kobylensky, Input Fort Wayne
Kendall Riecken, left, owns Kendall Performance & Repair. Kendall Riecken, left, owns Kendall Performance & Repair.


From a very young age, Kendall Riecken knew his career path would involve automobiles.

Having been obsessed with the auto industry since childhood, he spent years going to car shows, races and drag strips---"anywhere and everywhere car-related,” he said.


While earning his trade school certification and a degree in business administration from Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, IN, Riecken worked for other auto shops, mostly doing collision and restoration work. When he graduated and won a grant from Ivy Tech’s New Venture Competition in 2017, he began working to open his own auto customization and restoration shop, Kendall Performance & Repair.


Today, his business is busy---even during the pandemic---at 12130 N County Line Road E. in Spencerville, IN, but getting there was no easy journey.


Riecken said the first and perhaps most patience-testing step in his journey was constructing a facility for his work. And while the grant money provided him with some seed funding to get started, it also gave him a few key connections that continue to serve his business today.


One connection he’s used is a network of free small business mentors and resources in Northeast Indiana, known as SCORE NEI, which have been instrumental to Kendall Performance & Repair’s launch and growth.


“What’s so cool about it is that every SCORE mentor is a veteran of business,” Riecken said.


With a SCORE mentor’s support and encouragement, Riecken opened his business in 2018, and continues to do well during the pandemic, offering old-model car maintenance and classic restoration.


SCORE NEI sat down with Riecken to learn more about his journey as an entrepreneur, the challenges and opportunities he’s encountered along the way, and the role that mentorship plays in helping him navigate it all.


SN: Tell us about your work at Kendall Performance & Repair.


KR: We offer everything from detailing to collision repair. Currently, I have three full restoration projects going, where I’m tearing down old cars and completely redoing them; body, paint, rebuilding engines and interior. With the restoration, I can take care of pretty much anything and everything. I also have an interior guy who’s going to be doing my interiors for me, as far as custom upholstery.

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