Friday, February 26th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Chris Strang turns a life-long love of engines into a booming business

by Candance Moore

Chris Strang and a restored ‘68 Camaro

Chris Strang and a restored ‘68 Camaro

I just like to be around cars,” Chris Strang says with a smile. His friendly, approachable attitude belies the fact that he is one of the region’s most accomplished mechanical tradesmen.
 Chris has worked in leadership positions at dealerships, where he learned to diagnose the toughest cases and perform the most intricate repairs. In the Navy during Desert Storm, he kept F-14 Tomcats (“The baddest aircraft ever flown!”) in the sky. Serving as a technician, he’s worked on hybrids, Hummers, Hyundais, and everything in between, from the smallest repairs to major structural rehabilitations. As Chris jokingly tells his customers, if there’s a motor on it, he can fix it, even when other garages can’t.

He also excels at classic car restorations, paint jobs, custom upgrades, and collision repair on classic or high-dollar vehicles.

Chris is the kind of talent typically recruited by corporate dealerships. But now, as an entrepreneur, he is making his expertise readily available to the public. He recently opened Strang Enterprises, a full-service in-house repair and restoration shop for all things with four wheels. Now, instead of going through some dealership’s customer service department to reach a technician with Chris’s capabilities, customers can deal with him directly.

“I wanted the freedom to speak directly with my customers and do the best possible work for them,” Chris says. “Now I get to do what I enjoy without all the unnecessary distractions.”

At his garage, conveniently located in Moyock, Chris works on a steady stream of vehicles in all shapes and sizes—sometimes with a dirt bike or a boat engine thrown in. He’s seen just about everything in his career, allowing him to hone in on the issue and perform the repair quickly, to the delight of his growing list of customers.

Chris was drawn to cars in his childhood as the solution to what some thought was a problem. In early grade school, he was diagnosed with ADHD, and he struggled to conform to a typical classroom setting. Looking for a way to keep his hands busy, a counselor gave him mechanical gadgets to play with. Chris was hooked.

Through his teen years, Chris immersed himself in fixing any kind of engine people would let him touch. He learned the inner workings of lawnmowers and motorcycles. If there was a cool car getting souped out in the neighborhood, he wanted to be in on it. Along the way, he learned that there was money to be made from pursuing this interest. By his senior year in high school, he knew there was only one career for him.

After high school, Chris joined the Navy, which landed him at Oceana in Virginia Beach. He served his country for seven years, faithfully keeping the Navy’s air power in tip-top shape. A wife and three children occupied his time at home.

After his service, Chris joined the private sector. Because of his skills as a mechanic, he quickly secured a position at a dealership. It was the early 1990s, and Korean-manufactured cars were increasingly popular among American buyers. Chris wanted to be a part of the future, so he devoted the next several years to developing his expertise on the most in-demand vehicles.

A big believer in education, Chris devoted himself to classes and certifications on the latest technology. That opened doors at a BMW dealership, where he enjoyed the challenge of working on some of the highest-rated, most sophisticated engines on the market.

Meanwhile, in his spare time, he could usually be found in someone’s back yard, his head poked under a hood, trying to get a few more horses out of an engine. Corvettes were driven and driven again to see how well they purred. Although Chris had a blast, he burned his feet a time or two on overheated side exhaust pipes.

That gave him an idea for a step housing product with the same desired look and none of the uncomfortable burns. Chris developed the idea until he was later awarded a patent.

“I wanted the freedom to speak directly
with my customers and
 do the best possible work for them.”
—Chris Strang

Chris has beautifully restored this ‘65 Fastback

Chris has beautifully restored this ‘65 Fastback

A Navy connection brought an opportunity overseas, and Chris took advantage of it. He soon found himself at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay, where he supervised a team of technicians. He also learned inventory, sourcing, budgets, and operations, which would ultimately empower him to become a business owner.

Returning to Hampton Roads, Chris divorced in 2016, and went back to the corporate dealership routine.

During the day at work, he was a leader, a mentor, the man with the answers—but all for someone else’s bottom line. In the evening at home, he realized that he wanted more from life. The time had come to make some major changes—professionally and personally.

It was Chris’s daughter who prompted him to turn around his fortunes. At her suggestion, he joined a dating site, where he met the love of his life, Denise Foster. The two are now happily married. The owner of Hemp Haven in Greenbrier, Denise encouraged Chris to give his all to a business of his own.

Strang Enterprises was launched in 2017, initially as a side gig. By the summer of 2019, Chris was able to take it on as his full-time career.

Chris is the company’s lead technician, personally overseeing all operations and directly performing most of the work. His stepson, Ryan, who is also smitten by all things mechanical, is his protégé. Chris is now teaching the next generation of mechanics how to take pride in a job well done.

Strang Enterprises has in-house capabilities for repairs, diagnostics, restoration, structural work, and scheduled maintenance. Custom orders are welcome, and Chris has the resources to make almost any vision a reality.

Customers may bring their vehicles to his shop, or Chris can meet them at home to assess immobilized vehicles. With medium overhead, he is able to perform repairs at surprisingly reasonable costs. Strang Enterprises brings together dealership expertise and family-owned fairness.

“I’m here to help my customers in any way I can, from the small things to the expensive things,” Chris relates. “It’s all fun for me.”

Strang Enterprises

186-B Sawyertown Rd
Moyock, NC 27958