Faribault, MN, Auto Body Shop Upscales to New Spot

Malecha’s Auto Body recently moved up the road to a larger location at 190 20th St. NW. Photo by Colton Kemp/southernminn.com.

It’s been a quarter-century since Willy Malecha started his auto body business in his parents’ garage.

On July 17, the owner of Malecha’s Body Shop opened a building of his own at 190 20th St. NW in Faribault, MN, near the Rice County Fairgrounds and next door to the new Kwik Trip.

According to Willy, all the shop’s employees and even his family spent the weekend moving supplies into the new location, which is about four times the size of their old location. Willy’s wife, Ali, said they’d simply outgrown their old space.

“We were clearly out of room at our other location and that was, in the last year, becoming more visible to even our customers,” she said. “We’ve just been very busy. My husband runs a very good business, and that just showed.”

They also unboxed a lot of new supplies to stay up-to-date on the latest technology.

“We’ve got all new state-of-the-art equipment to handle all these new vehicles coming out,” Willy said. “Technology has completely changed. If you do not have the equipment to properly repair these cars, you shouldn’t be working on it. … All our guys in there have their training, and we’ve got the equipment we need to work on anything, from the cheapest cars you can buy, up to high-end cars.”

Malecha’s Body Shop was leasing its old location. The Malechas said the pandemic only made the move more necessary.

“We stayed busy,” Willy said. “All of my employees, everybody, worked all the way through COVID, and none of us got sick. None of us. Really, we did good.”

He said the community has been overwhelmingly supportive over the years, and attributes his success to the quality of work.

“We’re supported because of the quality of work we do,” he said. “I treat every vehicle like I’m putting one of my family members in it. And my employees are the same way.”

Ali agreed her husband’s work speaks for itself.

“We’ve got people who come in and introduce themselves by saying, ‘Willy worked on my car back since 2000, and we don’t go anywhere else,’” she said. “So, here we are. I mean, people keep coming back to him. He does good work, quality work, honest work, which you don’t always find in body shops.”

Malecha’s Auto Body employees are paid by the hour, rather than on commission. Willy said this is to keep them from any temptation to cut corners.

“Let’s say one technician has six jobs he’s working on and he’s flying through all six of them,” he suggested. “If he did six fenders, and they all pay two (labor) hours, and he replaces six fenders in four hours: He makes more money, the faster he gets. … There’s nothing wrong with (paying commission). But you can get the wrong technician that all they care about is how many hours they turn because they make more money.”

Along with the new location comes several new positions. He said he’s looking to hire two more technicians, add a part-timer for detailing vehicles and add an estimator manager.

It’s not the business owners' only recent expansion. In December, the Malechas purchased Dave’s Body Shop in Waseca, MN.

We thank the Faribault Daily News for reprint permission.

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