In 1994, Kit Johnson and his wife, Viola, hung out their shingle and started to live a life long dream: running a self made, self employed business.
J4 Automotive is named for the four Johnsons: Kit, Vi, and their two daughters, Nikita and Kacy. The business was started in their garage at home until Kit and Vi were able to arrange financing with the SBA, Valley Bank and a family friend. Through the support and help of relatives, Kit and Vi constructed a new 50’x80′, 4000 square foot, repair and service facility at their current location in East Helena and opened their doors for business in the spring of 1995.
Shortly after opening the doors, Kit and Vi discussed the NAPA AutoCare program with Tom Stephens, the local NAPA sales rep. They liked NAPA’s philosophy on doing business and became an AutoCare member in 1995. It has been a healthy and rewarding relationship, as has Kit’s association with ASE as a Certified and six time recertified Master Automobile Technician since 1988.
Twice a year J4’s staff donates a Saturday for customer and community charity work. One Saturday falls in September in which they celebrate their anniversary by offering free diagnostics and lunch (which Kit cooks!), and then another in October where they offer an annual free winter inspection in conjunction with AAA MountainWest.
This free pre-winter inspection usually involves the four different AAA/AAR facilities in town banding together in the AAA parking lot for a fun day of community service and goodwill among peers.
J4 Automotive is open five days a week, 10+ hours a day with a full staff of three ASE Certified Technicians, two service advisors and the two owners/slash head toilet cleaners. J4 is proud of their staff as they are chosen very carefully to ensure harmony and effective cooperation in the shop. Several of the staff has been with J4 for many years now.
In 2010, J4 Automotive expanded another 2000 square feet and added a state of the art alignment system, paved the parking lot and upgraded the dated lighting system and garage doors to better serve our customers and prepare us for another 17 years of business!