Deb Abraham Spalding
“Russell is the muscle, and Chris is the hustle!” That was the mantra in the promotional commercials for the premiere of the new Discovery Channel television reality series, Garage Rehab with Richard Rawlings that debuted August 30, 2017, at 10:00 p.m. The reference to Chris in the commercial is Chris Stephens, co-owner of Eurotech Classics, a vintage European auto shop on Putman Road in Thurmont. Russell is Russell Homes, a construction project manager from Long Island, New York. Chris and Russell are co-hosts to Richard Rawlings on this series, during which, the trio visits nine struggling auto repair garages around the country, invests money in them, and helps the owners rehab their businesses for success.
Rawlings is known for his Gas Monkey Garage and the Discovery Channel’s hit show, Fast and Loud. He lends his business savvy and marketing guru ideas to each project. Russell Homes is project manager for shop renovation and construction, and Chris evaluates marketing and the finished look of each project. These auto garages need help with equipment, construction, marketing, management—and everything you can imagine—to fine-tune the business for profit.
Even though Chris thought it would be cool to be on television one day, he didn’t work towards that. His business partner and brother, Marc Stephens, saw a Facebook post where the Discovery Network was seeking successful shop owners to co-host a new Discovery Channel idea. The brothers applied individually. Neither knew what Discovery was looking for, so they filmed some Skype interviews, showing their shop and giving their background and history. Chris was contacted to do the pilot for the show.
Chris feels this is an opportunity to give back to society, “It’s such a good feeling to be able to help others, owner to owner,” he explained, “I know what it’s like to run a business, especially when it’s down, cause I’ve been down, too.”
“Sometimes shop owners are hard-headed, sometimes they have too much clutter around the shop, or it’s poorly lit. Sometimes a shop owner is making a little money, but could be making a lot more,” stated Chris. This series helps the owners become successful and educates garage owner viewers about how to become successful as well.
Nine garages were rehabbed in the ten episodes that will air this fall in season one. The final episode will look back to review the progress of each shop. The nine shops helped in the Garage Rehab series have had immediate results from their rehab. “The garage needs to be clean and tidy with service that is consistent. You don’t want to show a bunch of junk cars sitting around,” explained Chris.
Chris and Marc started their business, Eurotech Classics, in 2003 in Jefferson, Maryland. They moved the business to downtown Frederick, on East Church Street, in 2010. Business was going well in Frederick, but the brothers needed more outdoor space and found it in Thurmont where they rehabbed their own shop space to reflect their goal of customer satisfaction.
The Stephens brothers grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland. Chris’ first car was a 1975 Porsche 914 that he bought when he was fifteen years old. It took him two years to restore it. By the time he was twenty, his brother Marc was a Volkswagen Master Certified Technician, and Chris was taking business classes at Montgomery College. When faced with the choice to attend a university or to open a shop, they opened their shop. Chris said, “Being true car guys, there’s no room for sports or other stuff. We’ve always been car guys. Growing up, on the weekends we’d go to race events, car shows, work on building cars, and travel for parts and old vintage stuff.”
Eurotech Classics focuses on the restoration of European cars and everyday maintenance of newer European autos. Chris was away from the shop for about eight months for filming all across the country when the show was picked up, so they’ve narrowed their scope of service to allow his travel, with Marc running the shop by himself. Locally, their goal is to cultivate a life-time customer with their service philosophy and clean shop.
With the televised debut of Garage Rehab, they anticipate that people will want to see their shop, and car enthusiasts will want to see what cars they have, talk about their cars, and explain their cars. Chris and Mark are planning a car show get-together this fall at the Eurotech Classics. They welcome residents in Thurmont, Frederick County, and surrounding areas to visit.
To watch Garage Rehab wherever you go, install the Discovery Go app on your device. Visit discovery.com for more information about Garage Rehab. Visit eurotechclassics.com or call 240-288-7998 for more information about Eurotech Classics.