November/December  2001

Independent’s Day
    an iga viewpoint

Chicken Little Was Right!
by Donovan Trana

Recently, the people of our country, and indeed the world, have been forced to come to grips with something that has been swept under the rug of our consciousness for more than 25 years. On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world realized that Chicken Little was right … the sky truly was falling. The happy-go-lucky attitude that typified Americans over the last decade seemed silly and somewhat embarrassing. On that day, Americans became adults. Now, the common people know what it's like to no longer have total control over their destinies. Simple things such as travel schedules, business dealings and day-to-day routines were affected. In short, they were terrorized—literally.

Now don't get me wrong, nothing could have prepared us for that terrifying day in September, but independent auto glass shop owners have known a taste of what other Americans are just now experiencing. Over the last ten years, auto glass owners have learned what it feels like to have their business disrupted and profits gutted by those with whom they were ill-prepared to deal. 

I remember in the summer of 1991 when an entity I had never heard of—something called a "network"—phoned me and said, "Either you sign up and accept our prices or you won't have a business in six months." I thought to myself, "What in the world is going on?" Then I received more phone calls and notices in the mail intimidating and coercing me. Later that summer, while vacationing in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming, I looked out over a particularly beautiful valley and contemplated my future. My world was caving in and I felt helpless and afraid. Then something happened. I got angry. No, I got mad! 

In that moment, I embarked on a mission to take back control of my business and my life. And you know what? I'm not unique. After the events of September 11, independent auto glass shop owners sprang back a little faster than many of our fellow Americans. Suddenly it seemed incredibly ridiculous for insurance companies to be terrorizing and hassling honest auto glass businesses when they have nothing more in their intentions than to serve a mutual client and make a fair profit. We all wondered, what did we do to become the enemy? I've talked to shop owners all over the country and a common theme is present among them. They have decided to attack their businesses with new resolve, become profitable, pay some taxes and support the efforts of our country and the world to stop international terrorism. From now on, these shop owners are not going to allow any insurance company to intimidate them or disrupt that goal!



Donovan Trana owns Express! Auto Glass and Express Auto Wash and Detail in Muscatine, Iowa.


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