SHOP STATS: B & B Auto Repair Inc. Location: Mansfield, Ohio Operator: Bob Blanton Average monthly number of cars: 100 employees Size: 7 Number of elevators: 7th Annual sales: $ 1-1.5 million
After years of exponential business growth, B&B Auto Repair owner Bob Blanton officially took steps to expand in 2019, purchasing the building and parking lot next to his original business.
After nearly 25 years in his first business, Blanton failed to reach its full potential.
“The original room wasn’t built as a repair shop, and we had one rack in front of the other,” says Blanton. “To be honest, my biggest problem was keeping up. We were always fully booked for two or three weeks. “
With a full row of racks on one wall for optimal workflow and the space to rent additional technology, Blanton nearly doubled its business in the new space.
A complete overhaul
Known locally as the Reindl Springs Building, the new building was originally constructed in the early 1950s as a state-of-the-art building and previously housed one of the oldest businesses in the county. Blanton immediately went to work with major renovations.
“I just had to completely overhaul everything – all new electrics, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, concrete work, a new roof, new gutters. Only the whole nine meters, ”says Blanton.
But it was the installation of the store’s glass block windows that inspired Blanton.
He started a mural project and commissioned local artist Erica Russell to paint nine auto- and historical-inspired panels on the west side of the store.
Each panel pays homage to vintage cars from decades past, including the 53 Corvette, Trans Am, IROC Z-28, and Dodge Viper, as well as local landmarks. With the store located on one of Richland County’s main avenues, the murals have become a delight for locals and passers-by alike.
Past to present
While Blanton has been unable to spare all of the ancient relics that were left behind in the World War II outpost (about 160,000 pounds of scrap steel alone was removed), he has picked up on the history of the business, preserving the original elements of the building’s bones, and vintage -Pieces built into 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 previous tenant’s original solid oak service desk has been put back into operation. Blanton’s daughter helped him complete the industrial, chic feel of the store with plants, carpets, and vintage car-inspired art to create a cozy retreat where customers can wait for their repairs to be completed.