The Car Lounge builds Topeka small business, focuses on long-term relationships

Joe Sessel and Konr Williams co-own The Car Lounge, a Topeka business more than two years old that has taken on an unusual tagline.

“Our agreed marketing was to be the best car shop that no one had ever heard of,” Sessel said.

“And it’s worked,” Williams added.

The two men laugh and interrupt each other’s sentences, their relationship clearly comfortable and easy. They met when Williams showed up to rent one of the homes that Sessel owns as part of his real estate investment business.

“One day he was over fixing something that was broken at the house. I was in the garage,” Williams said. “We hadn’t even moved in yet, there was nothing in the house. But I had moved my car into the garage. I was pulling the engine on my Firebird getting ready to replace it, and Joe walked in and asked what I was doing. I kind of explained it to him, and he mentioned that he always wanted to open a car shop.”

The idea laid quietly with the two for a couple of years. Williams was just 21 at the time — he’s 24 now — and Sessel joked that he normally would be concerned about renting a house to someone that age. But he not only rented a house with him, in 2015, they went into business together.

“As soon as I met him, I was like, man, I have got to get this guy into a business,” Sessel said. “He is motivated and talented.”

Williams lays claim to being the “real car guy” in the business, but he’s teaching Sessel, who works at Goodyear and running his real estate business, all about cars.

As part of his side business looking at area properties, Sessel stumbled across the 1901 S. Kansas Ave. location where the Car Lounge is located.

“The guy who owned this property put it on the market. I had just happened to be in a good place financially, so I called Konr and I said, ‘Want to start a car business?’”

Williams took over the story. “I was sitting at work when he called me. I used to be…

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