Weekend weather boosts repair shops’ business

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Whiteout conditions this past weekend contributed to dozens of crashes across northern Indiana, which means big business this week for local repair shops.

Emergency crews responded to several pileups Saturday, many the result of blowing snow and ice. Local shops, however, like Al Gratz Body & Paint Shop said that combination makes for a full lot and garage.

“As we came in Monday morning, we were greeted with some tow-ins that came over the weekend and then calls all day Monday,” said Zach Prindle, Body Shop Manager of Al Gratz Body & Paint Shop.

The shop sees a 40 percent increase in business in the winter. The recent snowfalls account for a 15 to 20 percent boost.

“Just this month, we’ve done around 75 estimates. Just yesterday and today, we’ve already done 12 and we’ve got calls coming in every day,” said Prindle.

Elliott Blumenthal visited Al Gratz Tuesday after his car was recently side-swiped.

“It’s been horrendous. I mean the white out conditions, blowing snow. Some of the cars that don’t slow down, it’s scary out there,” said Blumenthal.

Accidents also translate into the need for more manpower.

“A lot of my guys are coming in early and staying late, especially my painter and my body guys and then we’re working until 5 o’clock and sometimes right up to the time we clock out to get vehicles out the door and customers happy,” said Prindle.

Although employees said they wouldn’t trade the business, their customers’ safety is the most important.

“We do want their business but please be careful in whiteout conditions, but yes, we do like it,” said Prindle.

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