Raising the bay doors to his dreams

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Green Creek man opens new automotive service garage

GREEN CREEK — A familiar face to many local drivers now has a garage of his own to service the automotive care needs of the community — whether those needs be a simple oil change or a tire alignment using state-of-the-art equipment.

Green Creek’s Luke Schlabach opened the bay doors to his new vehicle service business, Tryon Auto Care, this week. The garage — a renovated chicken egg processing plant — is located at 4782 Chesnee Road, Rutherfordton. 

Guests gather outside the Tryon Auto Care building during the business’ ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday. Green Creek’s Luke Schlabach, a well-known auto mechanic in the area, opened the business this week. (Photo by Ted Yoakum/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

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The shop will offer a wide variety of repair and maintenance services, including tire alignment, oil changes, windshield replacement, brake and shock repair, and custom rim work. For services the staff do not have equipment for, such as body repair, Schlabach and his team will refer customers to another reputable shop that can get them and their wheels back on the road again, he said.

“I want this to be a place where you can leave your car, and whatever works needs to be done will be done,” Schlabach said. “I want it so that when people come, they know they will be taken care of.”

The garage is located inside a renovated egg processing facility in Green Creek. (Photo by Ted Yoakum/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

The business owner has been in auto maintenance since he was a teenager, getting his start when he and his six siblings worked at his family’s gas station in northern Michigan, he said. He and his brothers got their start refueling customers, riding unicycles up to vehicles that pulled up to the station, Schlabach said.

“I think people would come just to see us ride our unicycles up to the pumps,” he said.

In his teens, he began helping his father, Roman, inside the station’s maintenance garage, where — like many boys his age — he fell in love with working on cars.

He continued to follow that passion after moving to the Foothills area in 1999. Over the years, Schlabach has worked at several service garages in the area, including Stott’s Ford and Larry Stott’s Garage.

After years of working for others, though, Schlabach decided to strike up his own business, which would give him complete control over the level of care he and his staff could provide customers, he said.

He initially intended to operate a mobile repair service, and registered the name “Tryon Auto Care” for the business. The combination of both finding an auto shop owner in Georgia who was willing to sell his business’ entire stock of equipment to Schlabach, as well as finding a space in Green Creek for his operation, prompted Schlabach to instead use a stationary home for his business.

After weeks of renovations to the facility — including removing a large refrigerator unit and installing two additional bay doors — Schlabach welcomed friends and family to a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, a few days before he officially opened on Tuesday.

Like his father before him, Schlabach has enlisted the help of his family to run the business, with his sons, Tyler and Chris, daughter, Tianna, and wife, Martina, all pitching in to assist,  he said.

For Schlabach, his passion for auto repair is rooted in not just a love for engines and machines, but for helping others with one of their most important needs — getting from point A to point B.

“When I work on someone’s car, I treat it like I’m working on my mom and dad’s,” he said. “I don’t want them to break down right after leaving the shop. I want them to get to where they need to go.”

For more information about the business, people may call 828-222-6524 or may email tryonautocare@gmail.com.