By: Rachel A. Curry
Business at Tom Finch Automotive in Jacksonville continues to grow steadily throughout the years. There could even be a possible building expansion at its current location on 1025 W. Walnut in the future. Treating customers well at Tom Finch Automotive is a very important priority. Jacob Traeger, the service manager, lets the customers decide what repairs they want to make to their vehicles without feeling pressured to spend a lot of money. “People pay us to tell us what is wrong with their car, and we fix it,” he said. “I treat people the way I want to be treated…”
Traeger cares about the quality of service at Tom Finch Automotive. Apart from providing a stress free environment to have work done to vehicle’s in, competitive oil changes are offered by using superior oil and most vehicles are cleaned before being returned to owners. If customers find prices to high, it is because good parts, service are what is offered in everything that is done, whether it be repairs, body work, glass or detailing. “If it’s car related, we can do it for you,” he said.
Giving back to the community is something Traeger enjoys doing. Tom Finch Automotive serves as his sponsor to be a member of the Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville. The local business is also involved with the student worker program through the Illinois School for the Deaf. Last year was the first year a promotion was held in October for Breast Cancer Awareness. Five dollars from every oil change went to the Mia Ware Foundation, and over $1,000 was raised.
A fishing tournament was also held at Lake Jacksonville in October for the first time by Tom Finch Automotive. Proceeds will go to a different charity each year. Last year the proceeds went to the New Beginnings Homeless Shelter in Jacksonville. Donations, such as free oil changes, are given throughout the year to local charities, benefits and auctions. “It’s a good feeling when you can give back and help people out,” Traeger said.
Originally Traeger is from Streator. He graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1999. For almost ten years Traeger worked at Staples in Jacksonville. After leaving Staples he was employed by County Market in Jacksonville for two-and-a-half years. Traeger had his first chance to be part of management at County Market. At the time Tom Glossop, who is now retired, was the head manager. The two have remained friends, and go fishing together. If Traeger ever needs a second opinion on management, he gives Glossop a call. “He’s a great guy,” Traeger said.
In June Traeger will have been employed by Tom Finch Automotive for four years. He left County Market to work at Tom Finch Automotive. Working at Tom Finch Automotive is something Traeger enjoys, from the people to the environment to his co-workers. “I love everything about my job,” he said. “It’s almost like a hobby.”
He first met Tom Finch while working at Staples. Traeger helped Finch with his computers, and Finch helped him with his race car for mini stock car racing. In time Finch would ask Traeger to come and work for him. Finch is now helping Traeger with his engine for his go cart. Traeger plans on getting involved with go cart racing so he and his son can do it together. Traeger and his wife, Amy, have a three year old son, Caleb, who will be four in June.