ALTON – Newlyweds Kyle and Jessica Aulabaugh are making dreams come true not only for themselves, but for others in our community as well.
The couple recently partnered with a long-time friend, Justin “Dutch” Harris, to begin a new journey in the world of automobiles. The three have opened a new auto business that will provide a one-stop shop for everything automobile related, with an exception of mechanical work.
“Aulabout Autos,” located at 3104 Godfrey Rd., was once Premier Autos, previously owned by Kyle’s cousin, Chris Massey, and Scott Redman.
“When Massey got sick, I wanted him to be with his girls,” said Kyle. “One of the last times I had a conversation with him, we were ironing out the last deal right here in this office.”
After a battle with stage IV high-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma, Chris passed away just before Thanksgiving.
“I didn’t get to see him again, but he got to spend time with his girls,” said Kyle.
Although he was not expecting to open so soon, he decided he might as well get the ball rolling and started to plan. But first, he needed cars.
“I took my two cars that I had paid off, sold them at the auction and bought more cars, now I am selling them,” said Kyle. “Jessica and I basically pawned our own cars to get twenty for the lot. She went from a new 2013 Nissan Altima to a 1999 Toyota Camry with 200,000 miles on it and was not happy. We took those twenty and upgraded and upgraded and now we have a full lot of cars with a wide variety.”
Kyle and Jessica are looking forward to starting the new career path together as a family. Even their daughter, 2-year-old Chloe has her “Chloe’s Choice of the Week,” which is her favorite vehicle on the lot, featured for a low price.
For those with zero or bad credit need not to worry.
“What we try to do is get someone into a car to drive that they can afford now,” said Aulabaugh. “And then let these guys repair their credit and then we can get them into whatever they want. So our object is to not just sell them one car, but cars forever.”
“Our key is buying cars right, so we can sell them right. We have had numerous people including local car dealers come up here and tell us we aren’t going to make any money because our cars are too cheap. I don’t get into business not to make money.”
Kyle has been in the license/registration/insurance business for 10 years, so although running a car lot may be new, the business side of the house is like second nature to him.
“I partner with my dad in two other licensing offices including one in Madison and one in Edwardsville,” said Aulabaugh.
Kyle has bigger plans than just selling cars and providing licensing and insurance services. He has partnered with several other businesspersons to include Marco Brown and James R. Richardson II with ProCredit Experts who will provide credit repair to customers in need.
“We fix peoples’ credit,” said Brown. “When we remove the negatives, the second part of what we do is we actually build them a 720 credit score profile, which allows them to get whatever they want really. Then we actually have a third part of what we do which is get them credit cards and things like that to help them establish credit.”
“So in nature credit wise, we take them from zero to hero,” he added. “And that’s what we do.”
The next plan for Aulabout Autos is to purchase the old Little Caesars building next door and expand the insurance business Kyle works with his father, only mobile.
“It will be a drive-thru license title and insurance office,” said Kyle. “We will have drive-thru registration stickers. I know Florida has the drive-thru offices like that, I really think it is going to be a hit.”
Having a young daughter of his own, Kyle knows all too well the struggle of running errands with little ones, it can get stressful.
“This way, you don’t have to mess with car seats and carrying them in and out places, watching them in the store, excreta,” said Kyle. “We will issue on-site license plates, stickers, and specialize in semi-tractor trailers and bigger trucks to register.”
“If I’m going in I’m going all in,” said Kyle.
One of the main things the group plans to focus on is the customer and community service.
“Our plan is to give back to the community any way that we can,” said Kyle. “I want to use my assets and be involved in charity services to help others. I am even going to give a couple cars away to people that need them.”
“Everybody knows that a used car salesman has a reputation of being pushy, thats not us,” said Dutch. “We are all people persons and we like talking to people. We are not trying to get over on anyone. You might end up not buying a car while you’re out here, but you’ll gain a friend."
Aulabout Autos is not only a derivative of the family name, this business really is all about autos, there is no doubt about it.
“We are going to be able to buy, sell, trade, insure, license, title, renew, anything about cars we can do except for actually fixing them,” said Aulabaugh. “My ultimate goal is the implementing the drive-thru sticker service.”
Having all these services at one location provides substantial convenience for customers.
“I’ve got on-site license plates,” said Kyle. “So when you by a car, I can give you license plates the same day. If you need to renew your sticker, I can renew your sticker. If you need to insure your car, business, home, boat, I can get all that insurance for you. If you need license plates for your vehicle, I can do that for you. We even do bill pay, so if you need to pay your Ameren bill or anything like that.”
The experience and knowledge gained at his father’s business over the years has set him up perfectly for the business path he is on now.
“I definitely think with his knowledge of the business, being in it for ten years now, he really knows what he is doing and we will succeed,” said Jessica.
For those looking to have their car detailed can also come up to the shop and have that taken care of for a reasonable price. Check out the RiverBender.com Shop Local section for a buy one car detail, get one free - CLICK HERE.
“I have the best car detailer I have ever seen,” said Kyle. “Blic Echols can work magic, I’m telling you.”
Kyle says U-Haul trucks will also be available for rent starting next week.
Although this is a new business venture for this young group of local entrepreneurs, there is a collaborative effort to ensure success across the board and there are many things in the works for the future of Aulabout Autos.
“My main thing is this is where I come from, right here,” said Kyle. “I could very easily just put this business in Edwardsville. I’ve got enough business up there where I don’t really need this here, but I like it, a lot.”