Shop View: Old-Ish Auto LLC

Oct. 22, 2021

An unfortunate turn of events paved the way for this brand new shop space. 

SHOP STATS: Old-Ish Auto LL Location:  Ishpeming, Mich.  Owner: Terry and Naomi Doyen Staff Size: 2 Number of Lifts/Bays: 3 lifts   Average Monthly Car Count: 95 Annual Revenue: $$250,000

A Wicked Storm

Back in 2019, after a week of storms that blew in 200-plus inches of snow, the roof of Old-Ish Auto couldn’t take anymore. “The only thing left was the front office,” says co-owner Naomi Doyen. “We’re very thankful no one was in the building and that we weren’t open. It happened so fast.” 

The Doyens’ business was only a year and a half old at the time, and suddenly they were facing a rebuild from the ground up. Then, just as they planned to move forward with construction—after navigating challenges with insurance and the weather—the pandemic hit. 

“It’s a lot of little problems that cause a big headache,” Terry Doyen says. “It’s a lot of things you learn you don’t know. Not unless you go through it.”

Looking Back

The shop remains in its original footprint. According to The Mining Journal, a local publication, parts of the building date back to 1912 when it was used as a horse and carriage house, before shifting hands to Holmgren Motors in the 1940s, and finally to the Doyens who purchased the building from the Morristen family as Central Pontiac in 2017.

Understandably, the building was a staple in the town. “The community was discouraged to see it fall. Now, seeing it come back is really good for the community,” says Terry. 

After the snow melted and a team cleared out the debris, the couple took the summer to file paperwork and revisit their financial future. 

“Once fall came, we scrambled for a temporary location to work,” Naomi Doyen says. “Luckily, the tennant in the building behind us cleared out. It seemed like fate. We were able to convert it to a temporary working space.”

Instead of looking elsewhere, they decided to stay and rebuild.

Rebuilding With Vision

From the ground up, the major renovations not only honor the past, but look forward to the future. Naomi Doyen’s favorite part of the shop is an installation she has planned for the office. 

“I want to put together a tribute for the history of the location of our business,” she says. 

The Doyens plan to add photos of the people, the site, and the various historical maps that all make up the shop’s unique story. Both owners feel that the shop’s history, connection with the community, and commitment to a clean facility set them apart from other shops in town. 

“We strive to make sure it’s a place where customers can trust us,” Naomi Doyen says. “We’re honest and straightforward, that’s the character of our business. We’re not another hole-in-the-wall shop.”

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