One of my favorite things about my job is the opportunity to invest into the lives of our teens. We have a thriving teen council that not only create events for the teens in the community but also plan events that give back to the North Texas Food Bank.
The council’s vice president, Hunter Garchek, is going to be a senior this year at Northwest High School. He is a bright young man with a great work ethic. The way he serves our community is admirable. He is always willing to lend a helping hand. Hunter is a great role model for the younger teens. Something that really stands out about him is his entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, he started his own business at the age of 14. I asked him to share his story in hopes that it will encourage others.
“My name is Hunter Garchek and all of my life I have heard my Mom say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Until recently, I had always taken such a novel statement with a grain of salt. I never believed it had any merit since my young mind tended to focus on objective (and familiar) matters, like school or hanging out with friends.
In the summer of 2018, at 14 years old, I decided that I was going to start a small boat washing “business” at the local marina where we kept our cabin cruiser yacht. Growing up around boats and in a marine environment, pursuing this was idea was a no-brainer. I have experience, knowledge, and a disposition that aligned perfectly for this type of business. I always had a knack for striving for quality work. From cutting grass, trimming hedges to cleaning our pool and washing our vehicles, I would do anything that I thought needed improvement or could be better with a little elbow grease. I find enjoyment in working hard, which I could seem pretty odd for the typical adolescent.
Starting a business is not easy that’s for sure. Achieving a consistent customer base was difficult at first, especially since I was a shy and introverted kid. It took me being at the lake more consistently and getting comfortable. One Saturday, I had a discussion with a slip neighbor where I pitched the idea of me cleaning his 34-foot cabin cruiser twice a month. A week later another slip neighbor asked for a similar arrangement, but this time I would be cleaning a 46-foot motor yacht! This was an intimidating task for me to pursue at the time but I couldn’t resist his offer. Even though my customers were people I knew, responding with a three-letter answer and working to gain the courage to go over to a another boat from my own was nothing short of a nerve-racking experience.
For the ensuing three years, I steadily built my small business. What started as two boats twice per month turned into a weekly gig where I cleaned 10 boats per weekend. Because of the success I was experiencing, I decided to form an LLC and became an insured vendor with our marina. In addition, I made the decision to expand my services to include buffing and waxing, interior/cabin detailing. I am also considering an expansion into automotive detailing with the help of a new connection.
This has been a very rewarding journey. I learned that the building of my business depended not only on my personal merits and knowledge, but on the satisfaction of my customers and the impressions I would bestow on others. I learned that when it comes to the nitty gritty of running a legitimate business, it is the interests of the customer that is paramount to any work that has or hasn’t been performed. Though I am a small conglomerate at best, I’m proud to say that I maintain a one-hundred percent satisfaction rate amongst my small group of customers. The journey to success isn’t easy; none of what was described was a result of me sitting in my room, playing video games, and living in the lap of luxury in comfort and obscurity. Invariably, it took dedication, transformation, and the unconditional support of many to be in this position. I am by no means a millionaire, but I do know that my journey has yet to reach any end, only a few forks in the road.”