As a 5th grader, Jay Braun saw vacuuming cars at his father’s lube center in Bismarck simply as a means to earning a couple quarters to get his beef jerky and candy bar fix.
What he didn’t know, however, was that this job was just the beginning of a lifelong partnership with his father in the oil and lube industry. Fast forward more than 28 years later and this father and son duo are still working together and operating Raceday – an oil and lube center in south Bismarck, ND – and loving every minute of it…
Raceday was started in 2007 by Jay and his father after they moved back to the Midwest from California, where they worked together operating a national oil and lube business. The company is Bismarck’s only oil and lube center that is Carfax certified, contains a fully automatic car wash, and has two various locations throughout the city. Raceday prides itself in being a family-owned and orientated business and focuses on establishing relationships with their customers, some of which have been coming to Raceday since inception.
Jay’s mother does the bookkeeping for the business.
“We truly are all family,” Jay explained. “From the moment you drive up to the moment you leave…you’re going to get that family feel and that family environment. We really pride ourselves on that.”
In 2007, the Braun’s utilized an SBA 504 loan with BNC Bank and Dakota Business Lending to open their first location in south Bismarck. Jay and his father saw immediate success upon opening Raceday just over 12 years ago, so much so that they began looking into opening a second location for a lube center in north Bismarck. After sharing this desire with BNC Bank, the local bank Raceday has been using since inception, they again partnered with Dakota Business Lending, where they could gain access to the SBA 504 loan and work to mitigate any financial risks and stressors that come with this type of expansion. “These kinds of things can be very stressful, especially for a family because this business is everything we have,” Jay shared. “It’s a big investment and Dakota Business Lending made it very easy and very low stress throughout the whole process.” Because of the low fixed interest rate that Raceday attained through this loan, combined with the terms and lower down payment, the Braun family was so excited that they sat down with a bottle of wine and celebrated their journey thus far.
“What we liked most about the SBA 504 loan process was that it matched our core value of family. We didn’t feel like we were dealing with a big bank or a corporate monster looking down on us…it felt like we were dealing with a mom and pop shop just like we are. When we worked with Dakota Business Lending and BNC Bank, we felt like we were getting help from people that truly care about our success.”
In May of 2018, Raceday opened up a second lube center in north Bismarck in and subsequently used another SBA 504 loan to purchase that building in the spring of 2019. Because of this, they have been able to not only expand their services throughout the community, but also continue to build more customer relationships and increase their customer loyalty.
“We have customers that have been coming to use for over 12 years,” Jay explained. “I always recognize a customer when I’m out and about and I’m able to walk up to them, shake their hand, and ask about their family. We’ve known them for so long and created relationships with them so much so that they’re not just customers, they’re family too.” In addition, the SBA 504 loan provided them with the ability to get more involved in the community simply because they have more revenue and cash flow coming from another location. Raceday has sponsored and donated to causes such as the American Cancer Society and the Autism Cause Golf Scramble.
Jay and his father believe that using the SBA 504 loan with Dakota Business Lending and BNC Bank allowed them to plan their roots and for future growth. Raceday is already looking into another expansion throughout the next three years because of the success they have had thus far.
“BNC Bank and Dakota Business Lending helped us solidify our roots in the industry in a timeframe that we needed. Competition was coming to town, so the fact that we got our roots in first with only lead us to success down the road when we look to open up another facility.”
This “forward looking” mindset is exactly what Jay and his family advise other small business owners to encompass as they work to maintain and grow their business, and to do so without fear. “Don’t be afraid,” Jay advised. “You’ve got to continually move forward; if you’re not, you’re falling behind.” Jay wants to remind everyone that there are people out there who want to help you and your business get the opportunity it needs to grow and be successful, and to take advantage of that support system.
And having his family as a support system throughout this journey is Jay’s favorite part about his job. While it doesn’t work for everyone, he knows and believes that working alongside is family is a gift that he will always cherish.
“I can honestly say that, after 28 years in the business, I still look forward to getting up every day. I love working with my father on a daily basis. I love my family. And I love what I do.”
Raceday has been awarded Bismarck Tribune’s Best of the Best for oil change and car wash for 2 years and been recognized by the National Guard for being a good business and good business owners.
For more information on Raceday and the services they offer, call their south location store at 701-751-7223.