There’s a new business in town and it’s definitely on the fancy side. Spec German is an auto repair shop specializing in Mercedes-Benz and Porsche auto services. It opened on March 15 at 3621 Hunt St in Gig Harbor.
It was started by Jacob Coen and Jason Edlin, who each brought their own specialist expertise to the job. Coen knows all about Porsche and Edlin knows all about Mercedes.
Coen grew up in Gig Harbor and attended Peninsula High School. After graduating, he attended Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix where he earned an associate’s degree in science and technology. It was while attending technical college that he worked at a Porsche dealership in Scottsdale.
Most recently, Coen had worked for Porsche Bellevue for five years as a service ambassador. However, he later moved to Gig Harbor with his wife, Jaimee, and two daughters.
Reached by phone, Coen was at his post and answered questions about a helmet under a car.
“I’ve been a Porsche mechanic most of my life,” Coen said. “To be honest, it was just a chore. It’s a whole different world, working 12-14 hour days at the dealership back then.
Coen said when his first daughter was born, he decided it was time to move in a new direction.
“I just wasn’t happy overall, so we decided to make a change,” Coen said. “We lived in Renton and I worked in Bellevue. We just took that leap and thought ‘hey, let’s get back to where I came from.’
There was a desire for a “quieter and more peaceful” lifestyle that appealed to Coen. Initially, he kept commuting to work in Bellevue, but then decided to start looking for work closer to home. It was then that he met Edlin with whom he was going to do business.
“A good friend of mine, Jason, who is my business partner, is a master Mercedes mechanic,” Coen said. “We started chatting and he was looking for almost the same thing as me. Bustle can be so demanding.
With the two friends facing hour-long commutes, they decided the time was right to settle closer to their respective families.
“We started putting together the business idea and long story short, it took us a while to find real estate, eventually we found a space and put it together,” Coen said. .
With only a few weeks under their belt, business is already booming.
“I’m already booked through the first full week of April,” Coen said. “The initial response has been excellent. As a business owner you always hope it stays that way, but right now I can’t do it fast enough. »
One of the keys to the initial success was that Coen was able to retain his contacts from working at Dundon Motorsports in Gig Harbor.
“We get a large targeted audience with the work of Porsche. Dundon was kind enough to let me take that client list that I built there and let me have it,” Coen said. been able to reach out to my clients and say ‘hey, I’m here now’.”
Jamie Bopp, the owner and co-founder of Dundon Motorsports, said he was delighted to see Coen going in his own direction after working for him for three years. Coen first started as a service technician and then worked his way up to general manager.
“He did a great job,” Bopp said. “I was really happy and happy to see that he started his own business. I’m kind of a weird business owner in that regard, I like to see the people who work for me strive to do better than what they have now. I am convinced that entrepreneurship can be a good way to achieve this.
Bopp started Dundon Motorsports with friend Charles Dundon and told The Gateway in 2016 that he did so because he “felt there was the right demographic for Porsche owners in Gig Harbor.”
He said there has always been a market in Gig Harbor for this type of business because demographics have always skewed the more affluent.
“I’ve lived in Gig Harbor for over 15 years,” Bopp said. “The people of Gig Harbor are generally wealthier and drive Porsches, Porsche SUVs. You see a lot of them around. You know, the Macan, the Cayenne, that kind of stuff and Mercedes.
“I think Gig Harbor has always been rich.”
That a new business is growing to meet this untapped demand makes sense to Bopp.
“Spec German is a Mercedes and Porsche specialist store. There is not another in the region that is very specific to Germany,” Bopp said. “They’ve already been full for three weeks, they’ve been open for a week.”
The number of luxury vehicles is still likely to provide regular business as more and more people need repairs throughout the life of the car.
“It’s not usually a car that’s a disposable car, is it? It’s not like a van. You buy, you trade it in for a new one,” Bopp said. “You buy it and keep it for the most part. They are ambitious vehicles.
Coen hopes to grow the Mercedes side of the business.
“For Mercedes, the most important thing we’re trying to do is get this side flowing as fast as possible. We’ve seen a few cars already, it’s slowly starting to spread that we’re here,” Coen said. “Here on the harbor there are a lot of Mercedes, so we hope to do more.”
While driving, Coen said, he saw many owners of Porsches and Mercedes that represent untapped market potential.
“We just noticed this need here. Just by driving around the harbor I knew in terms of numbers what I had in terms of customers,” Coen said. “The initial response has been tremendous, absolutely brilliant.”
Coen says the Gig Harbor store cuts a hefty commute time for car owners who would otherwise have to travel farther to get repairs.
“Port folks don’t like to hang around Tacoma, get in there and then drop the car off, go home, then they have to go back,” Coen said. “We hope to bring above-dealer-quality service to a convenient local location.”
Laura Pettit, Marketing and Tourism Director of Gig Harbor,
recognizes that there is untapped potential for local businesses.
“There’s a demand for business here and not for crossing the bridge,” Pettit said. “I think more and more companies are recognizing this as an opportunity.”
Coen said he invested heavily in the right tools for the job.
“A lot of small shops in the area will do little things on these cars, but we’ve invested in high-end, very expensive technology,” Coen said. “They are so heavy on the electronic side. Like I can’t adjust an oil level on a new Porsche without a Porsche equipment tester. We have to make this big investment, it’s over $10,000 per tool. You don’t see a lot of people doing this if they don’t have the experience.
For Coen, there is optimism that the big investment will pay off in building businesses in a city in which Coen has personally seen the changes.
“Since I was growing up, we see a great amount of rich land here to settle on,” Coen said. “Once you get to that point of raising kids, you want to move somewhere with quality of life and a small town life. We see many other people wanting to do the same thing and not have to deal with the inconvenience of traffic. If we can address that and make it more convenient for them, that’s definitely something we’re willing to do. “
Coen hosted a cars and coffee event at his company on Saturday in hopes of connecting with the community.
“They do them everywhere,” Coen said. “Everyone will show up, with any car, and we’ll have coffee and donuts. We will discuss, mostly automotive stuff.
This story was originally published March 31, 2021 5:30 a.m.