Q: What made you want to start your own business, and why did you choose this type of business?
A: It’s everyone’s dream to be their own boss, and when I started working for the Community, I started learning a lot of things that would be beneficial to us, such as the procurement policy that promotes the success of Community-member-owned businesses. [Helpful business assistance programs] have been put in place by our previous Council representatives for Community members to thrive. I had to think of what type of business would be successful in the Community [and provide a service] that the members need. I prayed about it, and over the next few days I saw so many tow trucks driving around the Community. I thought, That’s it! There is no towing company out here in the Community. If we provided towing service, we would automatically get the contract because we would be the only Community-member-owned business doing that. So, I contacted all the proper departments to see what I needed to do, and once I got all the boxes checked off, I submitted everything to get the towing contract for the Salt River Police Department and a license to operate in the Community.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?
A: It has affected our business tremendously, because we provide towing services for the SRPD, Casino Arizona and De Rito Properties. I would say that 85% of our business relied solely on the traffic throughout the Talking Stick Entertainment District. With everything shutting down, there were no cars on the road, and our business went from being 24/7 to nothing. My trucks sat there and didn’t move for weeks. I learned that when you start your own business, get caught up on your bills and build up savings that covers at least three months of your income, so if something like this happens you will have some cushion. [Prior to COVID-19], all our profits went into savings. But with COVID-19, three months came and went, and we started going into the red. I had to get out there and do what I needed to do to get the bills paid. But things have started picking up in the last few weeks.
Q: To what do you attribute your success?
A: A lot of things, but mainly my wife Rachel and our children; they keep me in line and accountable. When I was incarcerated, she was there for me; I made a promise that when I got out, I was going to take care of them. I am still living up to that promise every day. I also attribute my success to the resources provided to SRPMIC members. I learned life skills from the Fatherhood Program, Parenting Program, the Cultural Resources Department’s Community Garden Program, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources’ Range Management Program, and counseling through Behavioral Health. Jacob Butler at the Community Garden and Garfield King Sr. with the Range Management Program helped me tremendously. Working with Garfield taught me a lot about who I am and where I come from. He always pushed me and he told me to get out there and work.
Q: What are your company’s goals?
A: Eventually we want to branch out and provide towing services to other tribal communities. We want to be a Native-owned business working on tribal lands—and, one day, across the nation.
Q: What is unique about your business?
A: We treat our Community like family members; we go above and beyond to help our fellow Community members the best that we can.For example, just today I cut through Bunnyville on my way home, and a guy had been stuck out there since the morning. He said he didn’t have money, but I got him out of there and sent him on his way. We also hold a quarterly raffle of unclaimed vehicles for SRPMIC members and donate vehicles to public safety departments for training purposes.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out in business, what would that be?
A: Don’t give up when you come up against roadblocks; be like a wall of water and find your way through. Eventually you’re going to overcome it and get past it. Don’t try to do everything all in one day—take it one step at a time, and before you know it, your daily routine is going to be running a successful business.
Owners: Eric and Rachel Schurz
Rezhawk Towing & Recovery, LLC
9041 E. McKellips Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Services: Towing, lock-outs, roadside assistance, fuel, tire changes and battery exchanges