Special to the Fort Mill Times
Before he was even out of middle school, Tom Baker knew his passion rested on four wheels.
Baker opened Baxter Car Care in Fort Mill June 28 and hopes to bring honest customer service to members of the community.
“People want to know what they’re buying,” he said.
Baker’s passion for fixing things started at a young age. He went from fixing bicycles as a kid to renovating his first car at 16.
Baker continued working on cars throughout high school. After he graduated from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, Baker landed a job at a gas station and eventually a car dealership in the Queen City.
In 1988, Baker put his savings together and opened Baker Auto in Uptown Charlotte. The store was successful, but after 23 years as the owner, Baker wanted to spend more time with his family, he said. He sold his Charlotte store and took a job at Carmax, where he worked for two years.
Baker Auto is still doing well today, something Baker attributes to the employees.
“You are only as good as your employees are,” he said.
After working for someone else the last couple of years, Baker decided he wanted to again open his own business. He has lived in Fort Mill for five and-a-half years and knew it would be the perfect place to open his shop.
“It’s a nice, quaint area,” he said.
After Baker spent two months of pulling up carpet, painting the walls and hanging decals on the walls, Baxter Car Care was up and running.
“It’s going well,” he said. “It’s a process”
Baker is hopeful his shop will continue to grow.
“I’m pleased with the response I’ve gotten,” he said.
Currently, Baker does everything from fixing the cars, filing the paperwork and cleaning the restrooms at Baxter Car Care. As his business grows, Baker hopes to add two more employees.
Baxter Car Care offers tune-ups, general repairs, oil changes, brakes and scheduled maintenance. Baker also does car restoration.
Baker is currently working on his 1970 Buick Gran Sport Convertible, in which he met and married his wife, brought his children home from the hospital and won many car show trophies.
“[My Buick] is the end of the muscle car era,” he said. “It’s part of my life.”
Baker hopes his 35 years in the automotive industry will allow him to bring quality service to his customers.
“If you want honest automotive advice, this is the place to come,” he said.