Thursday, 30 April 2020 17:43

St. Louis Body Shop Still Slow After Storms

Written by Sara Machi, KSDK News

When 55 to 60 mph winds whipped through South City, they ripped gutters from buildings and tree limbs from the trunks, with the debris often landing on the parked cars below.

These spring storms usually drive up visits to local auto body shops, but the coronavirus has put the brakes on most business and mechanics say they are no exception.


"Since everything happened with the coronavirus, things have slowed down quite a bit," St. Louis Auto & Truck Repair co-owner Lisa Renaud said. "We usually put through about 45 to 50 vehicles a day, and right now our max is maybe 10 customers a day."


When 5 On Your Side visited Renaud's garage near Downtown West in January, they were busy fixing vehicles damaged by potholes. 


With St. Louis' stay-at-home order still in effect, their waiting room is closed. So they're offering new services: picking up a client's car or chauffeuring customers home. Renaud said they also allow time for an extensive cleaning before returning a car to its owner.


"We tried to make it as safe as possible because people still do need repairs. I know a lot of people are holding off on things until businesses open back up completely," Renaud said.


The coronavirus has affected the automotive business on many fronts. With many people driving less, working remotely and cancelling road trips, Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson told CNBC driving is down around 35% to 50%.


Renaud said, like many small businesses, St. Louis Auto & Truck Repair qualified for the Payroll Protection Program, which will give them a little momentum to make it through this slow period.


"We were able to obtain that, which takes a little bit of the stress out of it," Renaud said. "I can breathe a little better knowing that will be able to make payroll."


We thank KSDK News for reprint permission.