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Shop View: B&B Auto Repair Inc.

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SHOP STATS: B&B Auto Repair Inc.  Location: Mansfield, Ohio  Operator: Bob Blanton  Average Monthly Car Count: 100  Staff Size: 7  Number of lifts: Annual Revenue: $1-1.5 million  

Growth Spurt

In 2019, after years of exponential business growth, B&B Auto Repair owner Bob Blanton officially made moves to expand and bought the building and parking lot next door to his original shop.

After nearly 25 years in his first shop, Blanton wasn’t able to reach his full potential.

“The original space wasn’t built as a repair shop and we had one rack in front of the other,” says Blanton. “Honestly my biggest problem was keeping up. We were always booked two or three weeks out.”

Now, with a full line of racks against one wall for optimal workflow and the space to hire an additional tech, Blanton has seen business nearly double in the new space.

A Complete Overhaul

Known locally as the Reindl Springs Building, the new building had originally been built as a state-of-the-art facility in the early 1950s and previously housed one of the county’s oldest businesses. Blanton immediately got to work with major renovations.

“I had to completely redo just everything—all new electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, concrete work, a new roof, new gutters. Just the whole nine yards,” says Blanton.

But it was the installation of the shop’s glass block windows that spurred inspiration for Blanton.

Curb Appeal

He launched a mural project, hiring local artist Erica Russell to paint nine auto- and historically-inspired panels on the shop’s west side.

Each panel pays homage to classic cars from decades past, including the ’53 Corvette, the Trans Am, the IROC Z-28 and the Dodge Viper, and local landmarks. With the shop located one of Richland County’s main drives, the murals have become a treat for locals and passersby alike.

Past to Present

While Blanton was unable to spare all of the old relics left behind in the  World War II–era outpost (removing some 160,000 pounds of scrap steel alone), he’s embraced the shop’s history, preserving original elements of the building’s bones and incorporating vintage pieces in the customer’s waiting area.

The shop’s coffee bar was originally an old gas stove, a turn-of-the-century cash register adds character and the past tenant’s original solid oak service desk has been put back in action. Blanton’s daughter helped him complete the shop’s industrial chic atmosphere with the addition of plants, rugs and vintage auto-inspired art to create a cozy retreat where customers can wait while their repairs are completed.

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