Shop Life Columnists

Editor's Letter: Where’ve You Been?

Order Reprints

There are a few variations of the question—you have to shake it up a bit, as it gets tiring.

Where’ve you been?

What have you been up to?

Wow, it’s been … more than a year, huh?

Depending on where you live, when you’re reading this, and, well, some other macro factors I won’t get into, there’s a pretty good chance that the community around you is starting to break out of its pandemic-induced stupor and reemerge into something somewhat resembling society again; at least, I hope. And with every re-introduction of former acquaintances—even some “friends”—that we suddenly see, in person, for the first time in a dozen or so months, there’s a bizarre, awkward exchange. I’m guessing you’ve all had one or two of those already. 

What’s been your response? I’d have to guess it’s been very different than what you’ve heard from most people. I mean, you didn’t go anywhere; you’ve pushed through, not just because you wanted to, but also because everyone in your community needed you. 

It’s been a challenging 14 or 15 months for people all across the country, and in all of our communities. People have lost jobs. Businesses have closed. Many have struggled to find any rhythm and drive in their day-to-day lives. There has been a lot written and said about frontline workers, and essential industries that have helped carry the burden for others. It’s probably not surprising to any of you that rarely has auto service been mentioned among those keeping the country rolling. 

It frustrates me—for you. You deserve better, and I just want to tell you, thank you. Thank you for shifting your lobby and check-in process. Thank you for adding pickup and drop-off to your services. Thank you for adjusting your hours, adding on services, and making others feel safe, while you and your teams may not have. Thank you for keeping your teams going—for not closing down, making cuts and giving up. Thank you for keeping your communities going. Thank you, truly, for all you do. 

Our main feature story this month is about marketing, but every time I read a story like this, it brings me to a similar conclusion: There are so many great people doing great things in this industry to change the worn-down stereotypes that plague it. The way the team at The Detroit Garage has utilized branding and marketing to portray its operation in a progressive, professional way is a perfect example. This is a great industry, and I hope this story—and Ratchet+Wrench, in general—makes you feel even more proud to be in it; that’s the small part we can play, and we’ll keep doing it. Because we all know where you’ve been: Right here, keeping everyone going. Thank you for that.

Related Articles

Editor's Letter: Wide Fairways

Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

You must login or register in order to post a comment.