Making a Quality change

Bob Cook has taken over the automotive repair shop in Gas, as the late John "Punk" Kress and his wife, Alzina, always hoped he would do at some point.



June 23, 2021 - 9:43 AM

Quality Auto in Gas is now Quality Automotive Repair, as longtime employee Bob Cook purchased the business from the late John “Punk” and Alzina Kress. From left, employee Bill Cook, Alzina Kress, Bob Cook and employee Terry Johnson. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

John “Punk” and Alzina Kress always knew they wanted to sell their business, Quality Automotive, Inc., to longtime employee Bob Cook.

That ownership change will be official July 1, but it came with a bittersweet twist. John Kress died April 21 after a battle with cancer.

“Before he passed away, he started talking to Bob about getting the money together,” Alzina Kress said. “We wanted to give him every opportunity to own this business, because he helped build it.”

John and Alzina opened the auto repair business in Gas in 2008. John did the repairs, and Alzina handles the administrative side.

Cook came along about a year after that. He’d worked in auto body repair, but didn’t know a lot about motors.

“John literally taught him everything he knew,” Alzina said.

Over the next few years, they talked about the possibility of Cook taking over when the Kresses retired. That was always the goal.

And in addition to his employment, Cook is family. He’s the father of the Kresses grandchildren.

The Kresses even included a clause in their living trust, giving Cook first option to purchase the business.

In 2017, John was diagnosed with cancer. He tried every treatment he could, to no avail.

Cook ran the business when John was unable to do so, such as when he received treatments.

On Jan. 1, John decided he was ready to retire, Alzina said. Soon, Cook began taking serious steps to make the transition.

 “It was very important to John and he wanted it to happen. Bob earned this. He was there in good times and in bad,” Alzina said. 

After John died, Alzina reassured Cook she would only sell the business to him. She plans to stay on until she reaches retirement age.

“It’s bittersweet selling out, but I think in some ways it will help me work through my grief a little bit,” she said.

Cook said the biggest change is that he’ll have to quit his second job at Walmart. For legal reasons, he had to make a slight change to the business name. It’s now Quality Automotive Services, Inc.

Otherwise, though, Cook said he didn’t plan any changes to the business model.

“The only thing that will be different is that he (John) isn’t out there to ask questions,” he said.

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