Running Great Auto — 26 Years Of Trusted, Family


HomeHome / News / Running Great Auto — 26 Years Of Trusted, Family

Jun 19, 2023

Running Great Auto — 26 Years Of Trusted, Family

When Glen Yudman purchased Running Great Automotive on N. Nebraska Ave (just south of Skipper Rd.) in North Tampa in 1997, his two sons were just kids. Now, 26 years later, Glen’s sons Robby and Danny

When Glen Yudman purchased Running Great Automotive on N. Nebraska Ave (just south of Skipper Rd.) in North Tampa in 1997, his two sons were just kids.

Now, 26 years later, Glen’s sons Robby and Danny work right alongside him every day at the shop that has grown to earn a reputation for honesty and reliability. And, Glen’s wife Barbi helps with the books and sometimes answers the phones.

That makes Running Great a true family business — despite the fact Glen says he actually encouraged his sons to do something else. “It’s long hours,” he says.

On the other hand, it’s also rewarding, knowing that the business helps people and provides the kind of honest, quality service that is harder and harder to find these days.

A staff of 11 handles automobile maintenance and repairs at Running Great — from oil changes to brake service to new tires and more — while an additional seven employees provide services in the body shop.

As an independently-owned, neighborhood automotive center, there are no sales commissions, no quotas, and no dealer prices.

“The body shop world is mainly franchises,” Glen says. “It’s not personal.”

Not so at Running Great, where the service is personal and the customers span generations. There are now young people who bring their cars in for maintenance and repairs who are the grown children of parents who have been Glen’s customers for decades.

That’s the case with Helen Lucht, who moved to the area in 1996. At that time, the air conditioning went out in her 1989 Honda Accord. She started asking around and was referred to Running Great.

“We’ve been going there ever since,” she says. “Because they’re honest.”

Raising two teenage boys who were hard on cars, Helen says she’s had all kinds of work done over the years, including replacing transmissions, A/C systems and even motors.

Now those boys are grown and they bring their own cars to Running Great, too, which might not be remarkable, except that one currently lives in Atlanta.

“Whenever he comes down for a visit, we go to Running Great,” Helen says. “He doesn’t have a mechanic in Atlanta.”

She says she appreciates that the technicians at Running Great advise her of issues with her car, but also let her know which things are urgent and if anything can wait.

Most of all, she’s grateful for the relationship that has been built over so many years. “It’s nice to call and say, ‘It’s Helen,’ and they know who we are,” she says.

That’s possible because of the longevity of the employees who work at Running Great. Glen says the shop has many long-term employees and very low turnover.

For example, Chris Bach is a certified Master Mechanic by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and has been working at the location for 32 years, starting out when Nebraska Ave. was just a two-lane road and the business was called Mad Hatter Mufflers, Brakes & Transmissions.

Many other technicians have worked at Running Great for 10 years or much longer, which is something else that sets it apart from franchise or dealer shops.

“We don’t follow any franchise rules. No one works on commission here,” Glen says. “Nobody out in the shop is going to profit by saying you need something. Whether you buy new brakes or you don’t, it’s all the same to the mechanic.”

He says Running Great has no need for quotas, as the shop is always busy, but never so busy that it can’t take in new customers and their vehicles. “We can’t promise every job can be done the same day, every day,” he says, while adding that his mechanics do their best to finish every job as quickly as possible.

Glen says that, as cars get more expensive, people are keeping them much longer. While it used to be the norm to trade in cars every few years, it’s not as common these days.

“We see cars with more than 100,000 miles literally every day,” he says. “Most people used to only take a four-year loan; now there are seven-year loans.”

He says the key to keeping your car in tip-top shape is still oil changes. Being in Florida, the oil gets really hot, so it’s important to change it every 3,000 miles for conventional oil and every 5,000 miles for synthetic oil. When you bring your car to Running Great, your oil change will include a complimentary — and legitimate — vehicle inspection.

“If you go to the quick oil change place, they don’t usually care if your steering is about to fall off or if you have a bald tire,” Glen says. “Most are not trained to look.”

He says his customers tell him all the time that they’re surprised that the people at the oil change place didn’t tell them about problems with their brakes or other systems, but Glen emphasizes that’s not what a quick oil change place is in business to do.

And, he advises, if your brakes make any noise other than just a squeak, get someone to look at them right away. “The longer you wait,” he says, “the more it will cost you.”

As a NAPA-certified auto care center, any repairs done at Running Great use NAPA’s better quality parts and have a nationwide guarantee. Glen says that means if you take a road trip or move, if something fails, it will be fixed at no cost to you. He adds the he will get parts from dealers when needed, but even if the parts aren’t from NAPA, the work is still guaranteed and can be repaired at no cost at any NAPA-certified repair shop.

Over in the body shop, Glen says a steady stream of cars that have been in accidents come in for repair, with many more fender benders than they used to see.

Running Great uses a computer matching system for paint that has a camera with an eye that goes up against the body of the car to match the color. If it’s not perfect, the body shop can make adjustments based on what they see. They tint the paint on site so adjustments can be made as needed.

Drivers who have been in an accident have the right to take their car to any body shop they choose, so even if the insurance company recommends a specific shop, you don’t have to go there.

He says Running Great works with directly with all insurance companies and he recommends that you never pay out of pocket if your car needs body work.

“Always go through insurance,” he says. “Otherwise, you won’t get a rental and, if someone else agrees to pay for your repairs, they aren’t going to pay more if we find something else wrong. But, the insurance company will.”

Running Great Auto (14513 N. Nebraska Ave.) is open Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and 7:30 a.m.-noon on Sat. For more information, call (813) 971-0642, visit