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Leslie Sepeda Had To Overcome Many Obstacles To Get Abilene Auto Spa Where It Is Today

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ABILENE, TX – Everyone experiences adversity in life and business, and Leslie Sepeda is no exception. As the owner of a premium car care center in Abilene, Texas, USA, Leslie is an experienced entrepreneur who is well accustomed to the trials and tribulations of running a business.

Originally from New Braunfels, Texas, Leslie moved to Abilene about 19 years ago. She started her business, Abilene Auto Spa, in 2006. This is after she left her job at a car detailing shop.

She had been interested in the car care industry from an early age. She expressed those feelings here:

“Of course, I kept my car clean. You know, I always keep it clean. I waxed it on the weekends, I made that car shiny, and I loved doing that. I worked at a detail shop here in town. I saw a lot of things that could’ve been done better, but I couldn’t make those decisions because I was only an employee. But one of the business accounts they had was a car dealership, and the owner of that dealership asked me, ‘Why not do this on your own? Why not open up your own business? You know, you’re very professional; you treat me the way I am supposed to be treated. And I’ll be your first account.’”

That is how it all started. That conversation was the first time she ever thought about being a business owner. Today, Leslie credits Scott Sims, the owner of Freedom Motors in Abilene, for igniting her entrepreneurial mindset. He was the one who pushed her to start her own business.

Leslie left her job to start her car detailing business with less than $100, which she used to buy the chemicals and supplies needed to kick start things. From those humble beginnings, she has managed to grow her business to be recognized as the premier car care center in the Big Country.

Abilene Auto Spa, formerly known as Abilene Detailing Center, provides various car care services,including; car restoration, ceramic coating, dent repair, and detailing. As Leslie kindly shared with us:

“We offer a variety of automotive detailing services that include interior detail, exterior detail, headlight restoration, hail damage repair, minor dent removal, door dings removal, automotive paint touch ups, and more. We also install ceramic coatings by Feynlab. I’m an authorized installer for Feynlab, and I am also an authorized installer for Surface Protective Solutions.”

Being a woman in a predominantly male-dominated space has not been a walk in the park for Leslie. When she first opened her business, she faced many challenges, as she explains:

“After my first three months in business, I got vandalized. There were five vehicles that were vandalized, with $10,000 in damage. And it was by competitors because they didn’t like what I was doing. So, they came in and did some damage to the vehicles. I almost threw in the towel, but then I thought about it and decided, the heck with that; I am not going to get bullied. So, I persevered and didn’t give up.”

After that ordeal, Leslie mentioned that her story was aired on the local news channel, which helped her business a lot, especially in terms of her customer base. She managed to get more clients and support from the community, most of whom were women from Abilene. This just goes to show how community awareness, unity, and support can go a long way in helping someone through difficult times.

Leslie also maintains close relationships with her employees, who have always been loyal to her and provided their best work. She considers them part of her family and instrumental in the exponential growth of her business over the years. She said:

“I have a great team, from my techs to my bookkeeper and financial advisor. They all mean a lot to me. They’re like my family. I see my techs five days a week, 8 to 10 hours a day. So, I see them more than my family. They’re my work family, and we take care of each other. We all have each other’s backs.”

Leslie also mentions that she has a lot of loyal customers and repeat buyers who have always supported her business, helping it grow. She is very appreciative of them. Her company has now also expanded their detailing services to motorcycles, RVs, boats, semi-trucks, and watercraft.

“When it comes to my clientele, I go above and beyond, and many of them are repeat customers. A lot of them are getting automotive details or ceramic coatings for their entire family. Like the husband, wife, and kid all get their vehicles serviced here with either a coating or detail. Now, ceramic coatings are becoming a family favorite. First, they all get it for their cars. Then, when they see the results, they are like, ‘let’s get the boat done too.” My clients appreciate the quality and know it is going to be phenomenal. That’s why they keep coming back to Abilene Auto Spa.

“The pandemic affected many small businesses around the world, including Abilene Auto Spa. However, Leslie handled it by not only balancing her own company but also helping many others. When asked about the pandemic, Leslie had this to say:

“It hurt us for a good six months when Texas had to shut down. I had to let some of the staff go, but me and my office manager at the time did some brainstorming, and we decided to run an interior special. We thought, ‘Why not help these nurses who have to go to work, these people who are delivering food? Why not give them a nice clean car with a service that also kills bacteria, germs, and viruses?’ So, we offered an interior special with a free disinfectant treatment that guarantees 90-day protection. So that individual’s car was protected for 90 days. That’s what I did, and it felt good to help others.”

Leslie’s company helped to disinfect car interiors and protect essential workers from the contagious virus. She wanted to protect every person who had to go to work, like nurses, police officers, and other first responders. This shows how selfless Leslie is; even in her most difficult moments, she was able to support the community and find ways to help fight the pandemic.

Leslie is also very charitable in her community; she mentions that she gives back to her community as often as possible, as she will do this year.

“I love to donate and support any way I can. I donate to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Association, Ben Richey Boys Ranch, West Texas Rehab, and Clay Shoots. I’m always doing something, and I’m always donating to great non profit organizations like the West Texas Rehab’s silent auction. This year, we will have a car show in conjunction with Big Country Mopar, and we will contribute money to the Children’s Miracle Network and Hunters for Heroes. That’s coming up in September, and we’re going to do it on 9/11. I am very excited about that!”

At Abilene Auto Spa, Leslie and her employees use three kinds of products: Feynlab,  Surface Protective Solutions, and Opti-Coat. She is an authorized and certified user of these products in Texas. She has undergone rigorous training and courses on how to use them professionally. Speaking more about these products, Leslie said:

“I’ve been a veteran installer for Feynlab since 2016. I believe in the product, and I’ve done three training seminars with them. Two of their representatives came here and demonstrated more effective ways to use their products. I went to their training facility in Houston. I believe in continuing education, and Feynlab continues to raise the bar. I think it’s the best coating in the world. This year, I will meet the owner and will pick his brain. I am definitely looking forward to that. Surface Protective Solutions has some great products too. They specialize in graphene coating. Which is a very good coating, especially for sports cars.”

If you are ever in need of car care services in the Big Country area, Abilene Auto Spa will be glad to assist you. They offer numerous services that include; car detailing, paintless dent removal, Feynlab ceramic coating, and Feynlab glass coating. You can reach them by phone to set an appointment at (325) 692-1688. You can also visit them today at 4250 Burl Harris Dr., Abilene, TX 79602.  They would love to help you!

All businesses start with some challenges and uncertainty. Likewise, Leslie Sepeda started her business with almost nothing in hand. She faced vandalism, and bullies as a new business owner. Those obstacles only made her stronger. Through it all, she kept her head up and didn’t give up. That is why Abilene Auto Spa is now one of the premier auto care businesses in the Big Country area today.

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