Throughout this protracted pandemic, Complete Auto Repair on 22nd Avenue in Rochester has remained open as an essential business. Travis Batdorf says business slowed for a short while immediately after Governor Tim Walz issued his stay at home order, but as word spread that the shop was an essential business, the flow of customers resumed.
"We've had a lot of calls throughout this," Travis said as sat behind his desk in the waiting area at the auto shop. "The first question is 'are you guys open?' Yes, we are. I'm happy to be here. My technicians are happy to be here, no matter what. It hasn't slowed down for us. We need to be here for everyone. People still need to get to work. People still need to get to the grocery store if they have to, so we're going to take care of them."
Much of the routine hasn't changed at Complete Auto Repair. Timing belts, tire rotations and oil changes are being taken care of as they always have. Still, Travis says the shop has taken its cleaning game up a few notches.
"Disinfecting cars. Disinfecting door handles. Making sure that we're wearing gloves before we enter in a car. Making sure we replace the gloves when we go back in the car again. Just overall keeping things cleaner than we ever did before."
Travis regularly wipes down door handles and countertops in the waiting area himself. Still, there is another cherished part of the garage routine that has had to change in this pandemic era. Travis says he's had to tell some of his favorite visitors who pop in to chat that now is not the time.
"I have a lot of regular customers that I love having come in and talk," he said sincerely. "Because it's a shop. It's a garage, so we have garage talk. But, with shelter in place, people need to stay home. We're here for essential reasons, not to come and talk and gab. We can catch up on that stuff later."
While the gear-head gab will have to wait, there will be no shortage of brake pads, wheel bearings and sensors being replaced, pandemic or not.