Auto repair shop owner pays it forward

Auto repair shop owner pays it forward
October 25
04:00 2018

For as long as he can remember, Romi White has had a passion and gift for working on cars and other vehicles. White said he started at an early age working on mopeds for friends in his neighborhood.

“I was young when I first started working on mopeds, scooters, dirt bikes and stuff like that, so my attention was always on fixing things,” said White. “I used to fix everybody’s mopeds and go-carts in Happy Hill Gardens. I was fixing everybody’s stuff and that’s how I made a name for myself.” 

Around 2001, after he started having behavior problems in school and had a few run-ins with the law, White was introduced to the men who would become his mentors and help him turn his life around, Antonio Stevenson and Dave Moore. White said with help from Stevenson, he found out about Moore’s program at Southside Rides and his passion grew even more. 

 “His plan was to keep me out of trouble, and I took a liking to him because he showed he cared and he was like a big brother to me,” said White when asked about his relationship with Stevenson.

“I listened to him and he turned me on to Dave Moore, and he took me and a couple of other guys in. I stuck with it and learned the trade and I was one of the most successful people to come through that program.” 

Although he had been working on his craft for a few years, it wasn’t until 2007 that White realized he had found his calling.

“In 2007 the new Dodge Chargers had just came out, but box Chevy’s was the thing at the time. I liked the Charger so I took a box Chevy and put a Charger front end on it,” said White. “People was laughing at me when I was doing it, saying that it was impossible, but they didn’t see the vision I seen.”

White said it took him a long time to finish the car, but after a lot of welding, painting and other work, his vision came to life. 

“… It looked like it was made like that. It was like Dodge and Chevy best of both worlds and at that point, I told myself I could do anything.”

After working from his home for a few years, two months ago White opened Romi White Auto Repair at a garage on Patterson Avenue. White said Moore introduced him to the owner of the building, Ali Amer, and the rest is history. 

“… I knew with the clientele that I have and the following that I have on Facebook and the vision I have, I can open this building up and get it flooded in no time.”

And that’s exactly what he did. Less than two weeks after opening, the garage was full.  

Just as Stevenson and Moore refused to let him fall victim to the streets, White has vowed to do the same. Several times during an interview with The Chronicle, White said, “This is more than just a garage.”

White said he is willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn, no matter your criminal history, financial status, or disability. Romi White Auto Repair also offers a youth training program. 

He said, “I was influenced by Mr. Moore and his program and I just felt like it was my calling. I always cared about giving back.

“Anybody that is willing to learn and wants to have something positive going for themselves, I’m willing to give anybody a chance. I don’t turn anybody down,” said White. “I want to provide a way for these guys to make money so they don’t have to turn to negative things in life.“

I want to show this community that there are guys out here who are willing to learn and work hard to provide for their families.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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