Mike Dumonte is now operating the Stop Shop auto repair business under the new name, Mike's Stop Shop.
The business, at 895 S. Bon Aire Ave., reopened Dec. 1 after being closed for several months.
"We decided to keep the name because all the people who have been here for years knew it as the Stop Shop," Dumonte said.
PHOTO BY VICKI JOHNSON
Mike Dumonte works on a car at Mike’s Stop Shop, 895 S. Bon Aire Ave.
"It was kind of sad how this came about," said Dumonte's wife, Melanie. "Andy was killed in the Perry Street accident.
"We still have a hard time with that," she said.
She referred to former Stop Shop operator Andy Shatzinger's death in an auto accident on Perry Street in September.
"He was a good friend," she said. "After the accident, Tim (Andy's father) didn't want to open the shop again. He offered it to us."
Previously, Dumonte worked at Monroe Muffler in Tiffin and Findlay for many years, part of the time as a manager, and at Smitty's Custom Auto for a while. This is his first opportunity to run his own shop.
"I've been a mechanic my whole life," he said. "I just ran everybody else's shops. I've been doing this for 22 years.
"My grandpa had a shop when I was just a little kid, so I grew up in shops and I ended up being a mechanic," he said.
Dumonte is certified in auto service excellence (ASE), which requires experience and recertification testing every five years to keep up on changes in the auto industry.
The Dumontes said they always wanted to operate their own shop, but didn't have the means to buy one.
"I've been trying for years to figure out how to do it," he said. "When this came up I couldn't afford not to."
Dumonte said he's been spending a lot of time getting equipment and tools arranged and customers have started coming back.
"It feels great," he said. "I've been up here pretty much getting it organized the way I do things."
He isn't new to running shops, but this time it's different.
"It's for me now," he said. "It's not somebody else's name. They're not talking about somebody else's shop. They're talking about me. And I know the quality of work because I'm doing it."
Dumonte said he is confident word of mouth will bring him lots of business.
"Building a reputation takes forever in this business," he said. "And it takes about 30 seconds to erase it."
In his spare time, Dumonte drag races.
"You got to have free time," he said.
Dumonte is welcoming customers from his previous jobs and Shatzinger's customers. He encourages new people to give him a try.
He offers a full range of auto repair work such as engine repairs, transmission work, suspensions, brake systems, tune-ups, air conditioning systems, coolant flushes and computer diagnostics.
For more information, call (419) 443-1160.