Tony Lane selling auto repair business, new owner hopes to maintain shop’s reputation 

April 3, 2024 | 12:10 am

Updated April 3, 2024 | 1:00 am

Fast Lane Auto Repair

Tony Lane is selling his auto repair business to his trusted friend Ed Caswell, owner of Full Throttle Automotive in Evansville. Lane said that he’s grateful for the community support but that he’s gotten Fast Lane Auto Repair as far as it can go, and he’s confident Caswell was the best person to carry on the legacy of Fast Lane Auto Repair. The business is maintaining its name and employees.

The change in ownership is expected to be official by early May.

When Lane opened his first location at 2121 Triplett Street, there were three employees and only six bays. After a remodel and expansion, Fast Lane doubled to 12 bays. Business kept booming, and in 2022 he added a second shop at 1709 Breckinridge Street with an additional 14 bays.

Full Throttle Automotive is an 18-bay shop. Over the last 3 years, Caswell has spent his time learning business to maintain better and more efficient operations and to become a better leader. He plans to carry that over to Fast Lane. 

Lane cited health issues as the primary reason for leaving the business.

“When I decided to get out, I called Ed. I’ve known him for years. He owns a shop in Evansville now and runs it great. He’s the only person I called to try to take over the business,” Lane said. “Ed is more of a businessman than me. I’m a mechanic. I’m a people person. Ed knows the business. I’ve got it as far as I can get it. He can take it to the next level.”

Lane stressed that customers can expect the same level of care under Caswell’s ownership.

“When customers walk in the door, the same people are going to greet them, the same technicians will be working on their cars,” Lane said. “It’s gonna be the same quality, but it’s going to start moving the level of quality up higher and higher. I think Ed’s the best fit. I think he treats his guys like I treat my guys. My biggest thing was I wanted my employees taken care of if I got out. If they weren’t going to be taken care of, I wasn’t leaving.”

Caswell said he’s always had an eye on the Owensboro market, but even after receiving a call from Lane it still took some long conversations with his wife Brandi before they decided to take over Fast Lane.

“I definitely wasn’t planning on buying other shops. For a long time, Owensboro was interesting to me, but I would never come over here because Tony is my friend. That’s not how I do things,”  Caswell said. “When he called me, my wife was like, ‘Nah, not happening.’ But the big picture is we spent some time in prayer and talked through it. We finally decided it was a good move. For Tony to ask me and my wife to take over, that’s a compliment. That meant a lot to me.”

Caswell understands he has big shoes to fill.

“Tony started an absolutely amazing business,” he said. “Everybody knows that he’s a huge part of this community and does a ton for the community. He’s built a good business and a good reputation. His people love him. It’s really cool to see how he loves people and takes care of his people. That’s what I’m about also.”

Caswell said he will institute some charges, but those will mostly be operational on the back end. He said Fast Lane was already starting to use some new methods in auto repair, and he hopes to continue to build on that — all while keeping the customer experience top of mind.

“One of our goals is creating a level of transparency. You’ve got to be able to show people what things are. We do that with pictures and videos, and even with our inspection we send a little animated video and it talks about what the issue is,” he said. “We want to be your go-to shop, to be able to diagnose the high-level stuff that a lot of smaller independent shops don’t have the ability to do and when you don’t want to go to the dealership. We want to give you that same feeling that Tony’s given. I want to be able to come in and give you that dealership level still with a family feel.”

Lane looks fondly back on his time running the auto shop. He said while he’s ready to hand things off, it’s still going to be tough when he officially hands over the keys.

“The last 9 years have been awesome. The community has supported me since day one. Without them, I could not have built what this is,” he said. “The closer it gets to being done, it gets more bittersweet for me. It feels good to not have to deal with it and be able to relax, but it also feels sad that I’m letting something go that I started from a dirty old shop that had nothing in it. Now it’s what it is today, but I can’t take it to the level. So it’s time.”

April 3, 2024 | 12:10 am

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