Now that Austin’s Auto Repair Service completed a renovation and expansion that nearly doubles the building’s size, the Bethlehem anchor will host a grand reopening this month.
Efficiency is largely what drove the need for more space, said Nelson Tavarez, owner of Austin’s Auto Repair Service.
“Every day we are doing more vehicles,” Tavarez said. “Having to purchase more equipment, the guys were literally stumbling over toolboxes and equipment.”
The expansion adds service bays, a modern customer waiting area with charging stations for people to plug in their cellphones and laptops and a 780-square-foot second floor for offices and training areas.
The waiting area and bathrooms are now handicapped accessible, he added.
Tavarez bought the shop at 1843 W. Broad St. in 2011, having worked his way up from auto mechanic to manager.
Though Austin’s Auto has been in business since 1977, the renovation and expansion bring updated technology for diagnosing and servicing vehicles as well as improved lighting and expanded towing services.
The business has nine employees and one part-time employee. Tavarez said it’s likely he’ll be able to hire five more people.
“We feel the level of professionalism is much higher; our main competition is dealerships,” Tavarez said. “We try to build relationships. We’re not trying to get people out the door.”
ESSA Bank & Trust of Stroudsburg financed the $450,000 project, and Business & Community Financing Solutions of Whitehall Township helped Tavarez develop a business plan and get the financing.
Jerdon Construction of Upper Macungie Township completed the construction for the renovation and expansion, and Shafnisky Electric of Allentown completed the electrical work, Tavarez said. Bonsall Shafferman Architects and Space Planners of Hanover Township, Northampton County, completed the architectural design.
The grand reopening celebration is 11 a.m. Oct. 21.