Good Judy Garage, a queer-owned auto shop, opens in Sheridan

CC Haug has always been passionate about cars, having grown up in a family that owned dealerships and auto shops. That interest led her to continuously tinker on race cars and custom-built vehicles for fun and eventually pursue degrees in science and mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

But when Haug, a transgender woman, decided to begin hormone therapy, she worried she would have to sacrifice either her identity or her livelihood.

“I identify as queer, I’m actually going to start hormone therapy at the beginning of January. One of the reasons I didn’t do that earlier in life is because, to me, mechanical stuff, cars, all of that stuff is such a big passion,” Haug said. “If I start my transition, what am I going to do for work? What’s gonna happen?”

That was the genesis for creating Good Judy Garage, a car shop dedicated to inclusivity and education in an industry that Haug said has a widespread “chauvinist kind of mindset.” The 2,200-square-foot garage, which features three bays, opened in Sheridan on Dec. 19.

Good Judy Garage’s name is an ode to Judy Garland, who was a known ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Similarly, Haug’s mission is to provide a space where customers don’t feel intimidated because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or lack of knowledge about cars.

“One thing I think is important to both of us is the education aspect. There have been many people who messaged us saying, ‘I’d love to learn how to change oil or change a tire,’ just very basic simple maintenance,” said Faith Haug, CC’s partner and director of business development. “And the people I talked to specifically were female, whether they were straight, gay or trans. But because they were female in some way, they felt they couldn’t ask a regular shop how to do that or they had nobody in their life who would do that.”

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    CC Haug, owner of Good Judy Garage, changes the oil on a truck. Haug, who identifies as a trans woman, has been passionate about cars since a young age, but when she decided to start hormone therapy, she worried she would have to sacrifice her identity or her livelihood.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

    CC Haug, owner of Good Judy Garage, watches as oil comes out of a truck while she changes the oil. Haug has long been tinker on race cars and custom built vehicles as a hobby.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    Good Jusy Garage's name is an ode to Judy Garland, who was a known ally for the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    Good Judy Garage has an all-gender bathroom onsite and sells some merch from LGBTQ+ artists.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    Good Judy Garage, a queer-owned car shop, opened Dec. 19 in Sheridan. It offers services ranging from an oil change to custom builds.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    Good Judy Garage's name is an ode to Judy Garland, who was a known ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

    Owner CC Haug opened Good Judy Garage in hopes of being a welcoming space for folks who may be intimidated at other car shop because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or lack of knowledge about cars.

One way Good Judy Garage tries to bring more understanding to its services is through price transparency. The website lists the costs of routine maintenance, such as an oil change ($25), as well as the cost of labor ($120 per hour) and how the bill for more extensive work will be calculated. Faith said if a job ends up taking more hours than originally quoted, customers will not have to pay the difference.

“Services on vehicles and repairs can be incredibly expensive, and so to try to make it so that they know what they’re walking into and what to expect I think helps take some of the edge off,” CC Haug said. “In terms of the ethics, it’s one of the reasons I came back to wanting to do this.”

CC recalls an instance when she took her daily driver, a Baja-style 2000 Toyota Tundra, in for an alignment only to be told it needed several pieces of equipment to be replaced – all of which she had recently replaced on her own.

“To see places approach things that way really almost angered me,” CC said.

The couple set up Good Judy’s Instagram account and began scouting locations for the garage about six months ago, and although they’re just getting started, they have big plans for the future, including a possible expansion into the space next door, which would double Good Judy’s square footage and service capacity.

But the business goals are somewhat secondary, CC said. As long as customers have a pleasant experience, Good Judy Garage will be achieving what she hoped.

“The goal is to approach it as open space for everyone and anyone that can come in and have more of a positive attitude than you see in a lot of the shops,” CC said.

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