With a flashy red high heel as its shop logo, Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, Pa., looks entirely unlike any other auto clinics you have ever seen.
Patrice Banks, the clinic’s owner, understands most women’s fears about auto repair, as well as the difficulties as an entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry. Being aware of this, she dared to open an all-female auto clinic, as she wanted to help women become more mechanically independent.
Banks told PBS NewsHour, “I created Girls Auto Clinic to educate and empower women through their cars and so what that means is we offer automotive buying and repair resources services and products to women.”
Banks does not want other women to get second-grade treatment when walking into an auto shop, as she did previously; instead, she wants them to find joy and be respected.
To pursue her dream, after years of calling herself an ‘auto airhead,’ she was willing to forgo her 6-figure salary at Dupont to sign up for a mechanic course, where she was also the only female trainee and even accepted working as the only woman in mechanical shops.
She told PBS NewsHour that, when facing challenging times, she entirely focused on her ultimate goal: opening an auto shop on her own to assist women.
After many hardships, her efforts paid off.
Besides owning the shop, she regularly conducts seminars to teach women about cars, the services needed, and how to perform general maintenance on them.
Banks was overjoyed when customers brought their children into the shop to see firsthand and realize how capable their mothers are.
“We want you to see that yes, women can do these things,” Banks explained.
As if her ambition was not big enough, she opened a beauty salon next door for customers to enjoy while waiting for their cars.
The beauty salon, named The Clutch Beauty Salon, provides various services: manicures, pedicures, and haircuts to ensure that customers make the most of their time and experience.
If you happen to visit her auto shop, you will not find it difficult to spot Banks in her signature red high heels.