Since Rick’s Automotive was founded in 1980, it’s grown quite a bit. It now has almost 50 employees and is on its second generation of family leadership. Founders Rick and Karen Hughlett are transitioning leadership to their daughter and son-in-law, Kala and Travis Comfort. But, “we’re still a small business,” Travis Comfort says. “It’s family-owned, and we treat everyone like family.”
For Comfort, this means really getting to know the people who work at Rick’s. He routinely invites new hires to lunch and sometimes dinner. “It’s just to know them on a whole other level, to see what they’re about,” he says. “When someone’s part of your business, you want to help them through their struggles—not just struggles here at work, but with their life.”
Reinforcing this family-oriented outlook, Rick’s offers competitive benefits, including a whopping 10% match to its 401(k) plan. “And it goes in weekly,” Comfort says. “You’re vested at 20% a year, so after five years, you’re fully vested.”
As for fun, Rick’s has become known for its next-level holiday parties. Last year, the company rented out Volleyball Beach Ozark for a “beach party in December”–themed event, complete with summer games and a DJ to keep the breezy atmosphere going. Employees who hit their two-decade anniversary with the company are rewarded with an even bigger perk. “Everyone who reaches their 20th gets sent on their dream vacation,” Comfort says. In the past, destinations have included Hawaii, Europe, Alaska and a train trip out West.