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Tuesday, 27 October 2020 22:57

Newton, MA, Auto Repair Shops Feel the Pandemic

Written by Jenna Fisher, Patch
Owners of Newton auto repair shops are feeling the pandemic and want people to not forget about them as they look with a wary eye toward the future amid pandemic means for them.  Owners of Newton auto repair shops are feeling the pandemic and want people to not forget about them as they look with a wary eye toward the future amid pandemic means for them.  Jenna Fisher/Patch

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Owners of Newton, MA, auto repair shops are feeling the pandemic and want people to not forget about them as they look with a wary eye toward the future.

"Probably like every industry, there's just a lot of uncertainty," Molly Brodeur, president of the Massachusetts Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, said in a phone interview.

 

One question shop owners in the area are asking themselves is: What happens if another significant surge is followed by another stay-at-home order? Some 13 communities have already had to take a step back in reopening plans.

 

"A lot of repairers across the board are concerned about that," said Brodeur, who owns a body shop in Marlborough. "At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone stayed home dramatically. That's when shops were really struggling."

 

Now, even as the state has begun to reopen in some areas, a large swath of people are working from home, and that means fewer cars on the road.

 

Massachusetts' toll revenues dropped by a third in the first eight months of 2020 compared to revenues from the same period last year, the Associated Press reported earlier this month, pointing to about 33% reduction in traffic.

 

And with that, collision shops have seen about a 20% to 30% drop in sales this year, she said. Though some businesses, such as Waltham's Creonte Tire, where the owner services commercial fleets, or those with a list of regular clientele are able to weather that storm better than others.

 

Tony Daher of Tony's Auto on Watertown Street said he's owned his auto repair shop since 2007 and business for him is at an all-time low. In April, he had to close for two weeks and lay off two employees. He was able to rehire them both, but business has been down about 40%, he estimates.


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