Small Business Success Story – Jason Anderson of Denwerks, Inc.

Denwerks

Well, here we go. I got the opportunity to interview Jason Anderson who happens to be my husband, my partner, my baby daddy, and co-owner of Denwerks, Inc. He’s a small business success story in every sense of the word. He’s a lot more too, as you are about to read.

If you know him, you already are aware that Jason is true, honest, reliable, and fun. He has an eye for detail and he’s the best in the business when it comes to classic cars. Cars are his vocation and they frame our life in so many different ways.

However, in addition to that, he’s a deep well of wisdom and caring. I knew since the day I met him that he was special. He makes me laugh, we have a great relationship, and we live a rich, full, and exciting life together. I wanted to be able to highlight a different side of him so that you can get to know him too, like we do.

As he tells us below, he’s far more than just a car salesman, or ‘the car guy.’ He’s known for that, but he’s known in our family as the glue.

Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.   

Hi, my name is Jason, without a Y, so no Jayson, or Jasyn, just plain old Jason, with the most unique last name you will ever find, Anderson.  

I grew up originally in a broken home with a very abusive father, who was very abusive to my mom. It was hard to see and hear when I was really little.  She got remarried to a great guy, totally opposite then my X-dad, I always used that term, my Real Dad (for my adoptive dad) and X-dad (for my biological dad).  

My real dad met my mom when she was pregnant with my little sister.  

I have thought many times through the years, ‘What an amazing man to meet someone while they were pregnant and start a friendship.’  

My real dad took me and my sister soon in after she was born as his own.  He is the most patient man I have ever met. I thought I would always turn out to be like my X-dad growing up, angry and violent.  

I have become more like my eal dad, but turned up a few notches with a lot of quirks. I grew up in Kennewick, Washington, pretty much all of my early life. I did all the things a teen shouldn’t do and got myself in a lot of trouble. I eventually found the Lord at age 21, and totally turned my life around, it was a divine intervention I believe.

At that point, I made a choice to do something different with my life.  Shortly after I then moved up to Edmonds, Washington to go to a Bible College around 1992.   It was there that I met someone very special.  

I remember going home to visit family during spring break, and told my grandparents that I met a new friend!  That was my way of letting them know I found someone very special.   

I never thought about relationships, especially marriage and what that was supposed to look like.

But what I did want, is true friendship, and without that, a marriage will never work.  We have 4 wonderful children, we have people tell us that all the time, how amazing our children are.

How our children have become who they are today, I have no clue. I am so thankful for them, they didn’t get their amazingness from me.  They are loving, they are very supportive, and I love them very much.   

So who was that special friend that I was talking about earlier?  

Yes, you are correct, My wife of 26 years Leslie Anderson. I am so honored that she chose to include me in her life. I love her more than anyone will ever know.

Who are the most important people in your life, and why?   

Probably the most important person when it comes to influence our my Grandpa and Grandm Chris and Laquitta Christensen.  His family immigrated from Denmark in 1909, and he was born in 1910. My grandma was 13 year younger than he. She was from South Carolina. My grandpa always said she was a ‘Heinz 57,’ a little of everything, because of her heritage.  

They were the most awesome people, I learned so much from them. They did so many things in their lifetime. They were turkey farmers, home builders, owner operators of a motel in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They had 3 children their own and loved to fish and camp. I spent a lot of my childhood with them doing these activities. There was nothing they couldn’t do in my mind.   

Most of all they were the most giving folks I have ever met, were friends with everyone. They had a heart for serving and volunteered at the food bank, senior center, and schools.   What I learned from them the most was that they were best friends, and they loved their family so much.   

Lastly, these folks loved to dance, 3 times a week, they could really swing!

What are your favorite ways to spend a day?   

That’s an interesting question, but I love to people watch.  Any where I go, I just love to watch people.  I am pretty laid back, and I like to have fun and relax.   I don’t like to spend much time by myself, I don’t like that very much.  

Spending time with my wife, and family, that is really my favorite way to spend a day.  Even if we are in separate rooms, I love the presence of that feeling, it makes me feel complete.

How would you describe yourself to people who don’t know you?  

Haha, I tell people I am an introvert.  

I do feel like that, and I feel I can be very shy.  But if you get to know me, I am not that way at all, but internally, I do feel like that.   Kind of strange but hey, that’s me.

How did you get into the classic car business?  How long have you been doing it?  What are some challenges you’ve faced along the way?  What are some amazing things that have happened along the way?     

I got into the classic car business early on and I always had a love for them.  My grandpa, was not a car guy, he was a point A to B type of guy, that is what a car was to him. But I think he was a secret car nut honestly.

My first classic car I remember seeing was a 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton. I didn’t know what that was at the age of 6, but I do now. I do remember it had these really cool hideaway headligh that were not common on an old car. The hood looked like a casket.  My grandpa took me to see it in the back of some old feed store in town, and I was like, ‘that is a neat car.’   

That got me hooked into cool cars.   

I fixed up a 1972 Ranchero with my Real Dad, he was really good at finding parts for great prices, and we fixed that car up for me to drive high school.  

That’s when it started, I started buying cars, fixing and improving them, and began to dabble in reselling them.   

When I met that special friend I mentioned earlier, I showed here this little classic car dealer in Seattle, and I was like I would love to do this.  

Fast forward 10 years, someone made that opportunity real.  I was working at a job I didn’t like, becoming a person that I didn’t want to be.  

How Denwerks started – the small business success story

I was in tears one day at work (yeah I am a guy that cries at movies), and she said, you know what?  Why don’t you come home.  I said, ‘And do what, we have 3 children with another one on the way.’

She said, ‘I know, I believe in you, come home and you can sell classic cars, and start your business.’ 

I have never had anyone believe in me, like she has, she believes I can do anything, that is an amazing feeling, that I feel even today.   

I quit that night, and everyday, since 2003, it has been an adventure.  

Even as I write this I am sitting in my shop, surrounded by some amazing old cars and motorcycles.  All I needed was for someone to believe in me, and say, ‘Let’s do it,’ she never questioned it.   

As for my grandparents, they never got to see what we have done, I wish they could see what we did.

I wish I could thank them because like them, I am a huge dreamer.

What are the three most important things that you want people to know about you?  

Three things that I want people to know about me. The first thing is that I don’t want to be known as a car guy, I want to be known as a friend.  

Second, I would give my shirt off my back for just about anyone, I have a lot of empathy for the hurting.   

Third, I love dogs, that have squished faces, aka, our English Bulldog Stanley.

Name one life lesson that you didn’t want to have to learn, but you are grateful you did, and why.   

A life lesson that I have learned, is to listen more, not be so closed off to other people’s ideas, or other folks thoughts, especially the closest people to me.  

Though my grandpa knew everything, everyone knew, there was the wrong way or grandpas way, and I kind of became like that, we all thought it was kind of funny.  But I am learning how to unravel that in my life.  

I cared for my family so much, that I wanted to protect them from things, I never wanted them to get hurt.  So I would spend time behind the scenes trying to fix and correct things. I didn’t have bad intentions, but what it did is, didn’t allow people to be them, didn’t allow for them to learn from their mistakes.  I never wanted anyone to hurt as much as I did at times growing up.  

I became a survivor through trial and error, through my mistakes.  

But those things are what made me who I am today.  I hate that I did that to my family honestly, especially my wife.  I never wanted her to worry about anything, never wanted anyone to hurt her. Even though I thought I was doing things out of love, it became controlling.

I am now learning this the hard way.  But I am extremely thankful that I have been working through this though now. What I am seeing by sitting back, by letting others work through things, is that I don’t need these stupid reigns anymore.

I am seeing my wife and family feel more free to be themselves and honestly that is so awesome to see. It is freeing for me too. You would think at age 50 I would have learned this already, but I am learning it now, and I am excited for our next adventures.

What creative project(s) are you working on that you are really excited about? 

It’s funny, I love to dream up things, and be very creative. Today, I am at a little bit at a fork in the road because I have so many interests.   Lots of people come to a crossroads and that’s not usually me, but here I .   

I would like to do a little more writing, I have done that for the first time, reading and writing in the last year. I am not a writer, and it is not an easy task for me, but it would be pretty cool to expand my skills in that area.  What I have learned from reading and writing, late in life, you can learn so much, and it has helped open the door to being more creative and dream.  

One thing I would like to get back into, and it’s been many years, is Pottery, I love being an artist, and throwing pots on the wheel, it feels so good.

What messages will people take away when they interact with you, and how can it help them?   

That I legitimately care for them and I want to help them. I spend a lot of time talking with people, getting to know them, and their story.  It’s important to me to see through others’ eyes about certain things, hurts, happiness, struggles.   

I don’t want to be a car salesman, even thought that is what I do with these classic cars.   

But like the cars, I want to know its story, once it leaves a previous owner, unless that story is told or documented it gets lost.  

I want to know how they tick, I want to know how I can improve them and make them better.  Do I know how to do that?

No, but I am working on it now. 

What are you grateful for?    

I am extremely grateful for God, his promises are true, and he has never left me, even though I have left him on many occasions.  I want to be more like that, I want to be solid.  I am grateful for my wife Leslie, and our children.  I’m also grateful for being able to learn from my mistakes.   

I know I have not talked about heavy things here, but I am learning to be patient, gentle and have self control.  

I am extremely grateful for true healing, it is never fast, and it doesn’t happen overnight.  

Learning to show up and be willing, just doing those things, can do amazing things if your life. I know, because I am doing that now.


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