Eagle Automotive Offers a People-Focused, Hometown Auto Service Experience
Photographer / Michael Durr
One could say the engine that keeps Eagle Automotive running is its owners’ mutual passion for people.
It’s certainly what Nicole and Matt Baker describe as the driving force behind their success as owners of the Zionsville-based business for the past six years.
Back in 2013, with 18 years of experience as an auto mechanic at the time, Matt began to see a need for a customer-oriented automotive shop in the Zionsville area, and he and Nicole began discussing the Eagle Auto concept in detail.
“I really saw a void as far as high-level automotive service in the area,” Matt says. “There were a couple hometown auto shops in the area at the time, and I knew they couldn’t serve everyone, especially with the growth of Zionsville.”
Matt had been working as general manager at an auto shop in Indy, and Nicole had a background in communications and public relations, having completed an internship at Walt Disney World during her years at Purdue University. They realized their respective skill sets would pair nicely in the context of an automotive business.
“When we moved here 14 years ago, people would tell Matt what a great mechanic he was,” Nicole says. “As we were getting to know people in the community and with our kids here, they would tell him they wish he was in Zionsville. I think we gradually came to know that we could make it happen here.”
The couple was raising four young kids – A.J., Gracie, Brendan and Kellen – and although they felt nervous about building a new business from the ground up, they knew the customer demand would be there if they kept a strong focus on each client’s needs from day one.
With no additional employees and not much more equipment than Matt’s trusty toolbox, the couple opened Eagle Automotive in 2013 on West 106th Street.
“It was all hands on deck. Matt wasn’t sleeping at all with working on getting things ready at our first location, and we had our kids helping with cleaning and prepping,” Nicole remembers with a laugh. “Thinking about it now, it’s kind of hard to believe that we got the place going with the small amount of manpower we had.”
Since then, Matt and Nicole have grown Eagle Automotive to include 14 total employees, and they relocated their business to Northwestern Drive in October of 2018. The shop now offers a range of services for nearly any automobile make and model, from brake repairs and transmission replacements to oil changes and heating and air solutions.
“Basically the only thing we don’t do is bodywork or tires,” Matt explains. “Bodywork is kind of a different animal, and it’s hard to beat the prices of some of the discount tire places, so we focus on pretty much everything else. We offer dealer-level service and repairs, and we can handle almost any type of car you can drive in here.”
Eagle Auto also offers hybrid and electric vehicle service, which Nicole says has become an increasingly larger percentage of the shop’s daily workload.
“The technicians, mechanics and I do monthly technical training,” Matt says. “What’s interesting is that seven out of 10 vehicle owners that are out of warranty choose an after-market shop like ours. So we do our after-market training and education to really stay up on the technology.”
Matt adds that handling the shop’s volume is a challenge at times, but he and Nicole remain committed to the same idea that prompted the couple to open the shop in the first place — a high level of customer service will attract both new and repeat customers and leave each and every one satisfied.
“The biggest challenge is blending all the people, customers and employees, making sure we’re able to serve both groups with excellence through our leadership as the owners,” Matt says. “It’s a people business. It’s not just fixing cars.”
Born and raised in Lafayette, Nicole started dating Matt in the eighth grade while the two were attending Klondike Middle School. They’ve come to appreciate Zionsville as an ideal setting to raise a family, as well as operate a family-owned business.
“There are a lot of options out there for getting your car serviced, and we’re trying to cater to the folks who want a relationship and a one-on-one focus,” Matt says. “It’s really more of a people business than ever before, and we try to keep that in mind.”
Eagle Automotive is located at 4642 Northwestern Drive in Zionsville. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 317-755-6818 or visit eagleautozionsville.com.