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Veteran Pride at Detail Garage

The leading retail franchise for automotive enthusiasts offers Veteran entrepreneurs a strong support infrastructure, the opportunity to leverage a proven business model and a community-driven approach to franchise ownership.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 8:08AM 05/10/22

As the go-to retail franchise for car-care enthusiasts, Detail Garage continues to appeal to franchisees year after year. All of these franchisees are community-driven with strong leadership skills and the ability to follow a proven system. As a result, many of Detail Garage’s most successful franchisees have come from a military background. As such, the Detail Garage team is excited to celebrate the success of passionate Veteran entrepreneurs who  joined the Detail Garage Family to leverage their experience to thrive in business. 

Sophoan Yem is a Veteran and Detail Garage franchise owner based in Texas. Yem grew up in California after immigrating from Cambodia at three years old. After graduating high school, Yem says he originally joined the military because he wanted to travel the world. 

“I had four years of active service in the Marines, and then four years home as a combat engineer,” said Yem. “I served during Operation Desert Shield. Afterward, I moved to Texas and began working in the oil and gas industry. After 14 years, I lost my job during the COVID-19 pandemic. That was when my business partner and I decided to take control of our own futures and start a business. When I got laid off, I knew I wasn’t going back — I wanted more control, and something in me said I wasn't going to let anyone determine my future.”

After discovering Detail Garage while browsing social media, Yem says he instantly connected with the concept. “I’m super into cars, and I love the automotive lifestyle, so that really appealed to me,” he said. “We reached out to the Detail Garage team, visited a franchise store in California and learned all about the owners and the brand. The products were awesome. I knew I had to love whatever I invested in.”

Yem opened his first Detail Garage location in Rosenberg, Texas in November 2020. In less than two years, Yem says he has already been able to invest in a second location in Katy, Texas. When it comes to the reasons behind this success, Yem says his military background has helped provide him with the skills necessary to scale his business.

“I loved serving in the military, and I really gained a lot of leadership skills, which I have been able to pass down to my employees,” said Yem. 

Carl Paul, Jr. is another Veteran and Detail Garage owner based in Concord, California. Paul worked as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force before he became an entrepreneur.  

“When I got back from service, I decided I wanted to start my own business,” said Paul. “When I came across Detail Garage online while shopping for their products, I decided to visit a nearby location that was an hour away. The franchise owner really opened up to me.. I loved the business model and went to LA to learn more at Discovery Day. I knew it would be a career I could enjoy. I’m a people person, so it was kind of like going to a car show — when you go, you get along with everybody and everybody can relate, talk about cars and share their passion.” 

Paul opened his Detail Garage location in March 2019, and since then says the experience of business ownership has been as rewarding as he imagined and provided him with a fulfilling post-military path. 

“My experience in the military was very rewarding — a plane came down broken, I fixed it and saved lives,” said Paul. “The same thing comes with mentoring customers — if they don’t know how to do something, you can show them how to do it, and you see that joy and the lessons they’ve learned. It is very rewarding. For example, during COVID, I taught a lot of people how to start a mobile detailing business.”

Paul says his Detail Garage location has also garnered a large following in his community, where he hosts a food drive every month and collaborates with local car shows. “Young people think they can’t make a difference, but I'm big on teaching them that they can make a difference at any level,” he said. “You can do a small part and have a big influence.”

And Paul’s military background has helped him create this thriving business in his community, he says. “In the military, we know how to keep it professional, and that is one of my biggest advantages,” he said. “People are so surprised when they come into the store because I teach my employees to be respectful, to go out to customers' cars, to go above and beyond. I want to let people know that we care as much about their car as they do.”

“If you invest in this franchise just to make money, it's not going to work for you,” said Paul. “You need to be passionate about helping people and building a rapport with customers. Those things come naturally to me, and my military background is a big part of that. The best part of Detail Garage is that we can lean on other franchisees — we’re a family and we take care of each other.”

For fellow Veteran entrepreneurs looking to enter the booming automotive industry, Detail Garage offers a rare opportunity to join more than just a proven, worldwide brand — it offers a chance to invest in a fun lifestyle and supportive community

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