It’s just past 4 p.m. on a Thursday. Aust the Boss Performance isn’t technically open but owner Austin Lepole, ‘17, is there anyway.
One of his customers arrives to pick up his repaired jet ski. “We’ll see you again soon,” Austin said with a wide smile as he shook his hand. Although open hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Austin works largely by appointments.
Austin spent many summers working at a marina, gaining experience for what would turn into his small business in Port Clinton. Around the marina, he was known as “Austin the Jet Ski Guy.” People already knew to come to him with questions and when in need of repairs.
As part of his senior capstone project, Austin opened his own business specializing in service for jet skis. The business was a natural fit. “I knew when I went to Heidelberg that this is what I wanted to do,” he said.
He opened his shop in Port Clinton right after graduation. “Once I got the sign out in front, that’s when it all really felt official,” he said. The sign sits off South Danbury Road, paired with the other businesses in the plaza.
His shop is one of the only ones in the area that specializes in jet skis, something Austin sees as an advantage. This particular day he continues work on one of the five jet skis that currently sit in his shop. “Whoever said opening and operating your own business is a lot of work is 120 percent right,” he said with a laugh. “Everything depends on you from day one.”
Despite only being open for a month, he has already started to develop a customer base. “I had one customer at the marina where I work at during the summer. I basically was able to turn that one customer into this.”
While Austin is the only official employee of his shop, he hopes to use it as a launching pad for multiple successful businesses. Regardless of the path of his one-time senior capstone project, he’s thrilled to be in business. “Above all, this is doing exactly what I want to be doing.”
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