SHERIDAN — Heather Berry moved to Sheridan with a flooring business and quickly learned that several other flooring businesses already existed in the city. Berry decided to drop the business and pursue her dream of restoring vehicles.
Woodys, Wagens & Classic Cruisers, LLC started in 2013 after Berry moved to Sheridan in 2011. Her love for vehicles and passion for her work allow her to rise each morning with a lively spirit and gumption to go and create.
The Sheridan Press: What was your journey to creating your own limited liability company?
Heather Berry: I’ve always had a passion for cars so I bought one and worked with a few shops around town that let me work on it at their shop. …So I restored one and started outsourcing a few more trucks to other shops.
It just wasn’t working on my time frame; I’m kind of a ‘I need things done now’ kinda person. It was kind of a pain waiting on people to get cars done, so I thought well maybe I’ll just open my own shop. So I rented or leased a place that I’m still in on Gabrielle Court.
I rented by myself for six months to a year on its own, buying, selling, cleaning and fixing up cars, and then I hired one guy and that’s where it all started. Now we’ve got eight or nine of us.
It’s been a journey and there’s been ups and downs, but overall it’s been a blessing to be able to do what we’ve done.
The restoration business is a really tough business. It’s not the restoration that keeps us in business, it’s the little cars in between, buying and selling the little cheap ones that pay the bills.
TSP: What started your interest in cars at first?
HB: Well, I don’t know. I’ve been interested in cars since middle school.
I had two uncles, one that was a mechanic, the other one collected high-end muscle cars, so I learned a little bit from him. Nobody really particular on my side of the family, I’ve just always had a passion for them, so I kinda did it on my own.
The first car I ever restored was a Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which I’ve always loved… I sold it to a guy in Chicago. He flew into Sheridan, bought this Wagoneer and he never left; that was seven years ago.
He’s been my business partner since then; we run it together. He’s an airline pilot in his regular job but it’s a passion we share together.
TSP: You said you’ve overcome a lot of trials. Tell me more about that.
HB: It’s not a lot of trials, but people look at the restoration business and they think they see what I do and all they see is pretty, shiny cars and they only get the exterior view of the business.
The hardest part about this business is getting people to understand the time and energy and materials and parts it takes to build one.
TSP: As a woman in the car industry, have you had any pushback?
HB: No, not really. It’s actually always been beneficial to me…We’re pretty well-known all over the country and people really look up to us. They’re very respectful. Every now and then you get that one guy that’s an arrogant butthead and thinks a woman can’t run a business, but I think we’ve proven ourselves that everybody knows better.