New Charlottesville Do-It-Yourself Garage Set to Open Next Week
A new Charlottesville auto shop, 22 years in the making, will give you all the tools to make fixes on vehicles yourself. The do-it-yourself garage is expected to open its doors next week.
Cousins Tim Smith and Tracy Carver thought of the idea behind their business plan in 1990. After years of research and planning, they are almost ready to open their Auto Hobby Shop to the community.
Smith said, "We've got tools in here older than my oldest daughter and she just turned 21."
After more than two decades of saving and strategizing, Smith and Carver are taking out their tools to make final fixes on a business plan they've envisioned for quite some time now.
Carver said, "I used these shops in the military from when I was in active duty and they have them in all the bases for the military members, so when I got out in 1990, we said 'Why isn't somebody doing this for civilian application?'"
The men are opening up their garage and renting out the space to anyone who needs it for $28 an hour, with a 30-minute minimum. The building can accommodate different types of vehicles including cars, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). It will be stocked with a complete set of tools to make any customer's trip a one-stop shop.
"Our toolboxes have 156 individual sockets, 52 wrenches, plus torque bits, hex drivers, everything you could think of in your standard toolbox set," said Carver. "We tried to be as complete as possible, so you don't have to look for that one special little tool that you need or that specialty four-wheel tool drive socket or that transmission jack stand."
Smith said, "They'll have a chance to do the things that's easier and have it done quicker - transmission jobs, motor jobs. They're hard to do out in the yard, but this way they'll have the equipment to do it, get it done faster and save money in the long run."
They say the concept was actually started in 1938. The men have researched the do-it-yourself shops that have opened and closed since then, paying close attention to their strengths and weaknesses.
"Most shops don't have the chance to stay in business because of the way that they did things," said Smith. "Our concept is a little bit different – a whole lot different actually – than the way that they've done their shops. Those shops, when you do things, you have to pay for individual pricing. You need those specialty tools, they charged you for it. You need to get rid of your oil, they charged you for it. Here when you rent the space, everything is included."
The Auto Hobby Shop will also have computer diagnostics so customers can find out what tools they need for a particular job and how long it will take them to perform it.
Carver said, "Even if we're not doing the work, we will offer everything that you need in order to do it yourself and know that you can rely on or have that information available at your fingertips in a place that you want to do it."
With all the work, time, and money that have been poured into this plan, it's hard for Carver to hold back emotions as they approach opening day.
"The nerves right now are just trying to get the final details, figuring out the little things that we haven't thought about yet in these 22 years of it finally coming to fruition," said Carver.
The Auto Hobby Shop is located on the corner of Dale Street and Albemarle Street in Charlottesville. It will be open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The cousins will have three bays open for business starting next Monday. They are hoping to clear out space for three more in the next couple of months.