Ironhorse steams into town

Auto shop offers another car-care alternative

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Joe Schminkey knows taking your car to a mechanic can be an uncomfortable process.

It helps to have a mechanic you can trust in an inviting shop. That is why Schminkey has spent more than a month tidying up the Old Town Shop, on the corner of Walnut Street and Lincoln Avenue, for his new business.

The building, complete with a new coat of white paint, royal blue trim, bright petunias and an eye-catching neon sign, officially opened as Ironhorse Automotive on Monday.

Schminkey, a mechanic in Steamboat Springs for 10 years, knew there was room for another automotive shop in Hayden.

"I know there's a lot of people that drive to Craig and Steamboat," he said. "I'm just trying to give them an alternative."

Not that Schminkey, a Hayden resident and Town Board member, didn't like the idea of giving up his own commute or being closer to his mini storage business, M & J Storage, just across the street from his auto shop.

In May, Schminkey and his wife, Mary, purchased the Old Town Shop from the town of Hayden, which used it as equipment storage.

In addition to cleaning and painting, Schminkey has been busy ordering new equipment for the four mechanics' bays. His business, which will repair foreign and domestic vehicles, will be based on honest service, he said.

Schminkey, who already has clients lined up through next week, isn't sure yet how much he'll advertise. He expects the best advertisement will be through good service and word of mouth.

"As a rule of thumb, for every customer that likes you, they'll tell three people," he said. "Everyone that doesn't like you, they'll tell 10."

Ironhorse Automotive is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Call 276-1934.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.

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