Company: Nelson’s Services Inc.
Address: 670 W. 5th Ave., Naperville
Phone/Website: 630-355-4456, www.nelsonsautorepair.com
Owner: Patrick Ripsky, 53, of Sandwich
Years of activity? 87 total, five with Ripsky as owner
What does your business do? “General auto repair. …everything we can figure out,” Ripsky said.
What interested you in this job? “I’ve always liked taking things apart at home. Dismantle my bike. Mr. (Donald “Buzz”) Nelson asked me if I would like to pump gas and work at the station. I grew up a block from his house. … He was looking for someone to help him at the gas station. I was 15.”
How did you become a mechanic? “Helping the guys who used to work on the cars. Gradually learned how to do it. After that, take a few classes. There are webinars now. There are classes at every college. A lot of auto parts stores have classes two, three or four times a year, the guys will come and teach you some of the new stuff.
Are you still learning? “Oh yeah. Cars are so complex. It drives us crazy, all the new stuff that comes out. Try to keep up with everything. … The reason I woke up today is to learn something new.
What does a customer say? “We have been customers for years because he does a great job. Yesterday we drove our car here without telling him we were coming and, look, he had it fixed. …He’s honest. Good service,” said Cathy Bromiel of Naperville.
What do you like about this company? “The people. I have such an awesome customer base. I work on third-generation vehicles. … I get new customers every week, but these are the people I’ve worked with for over 30 years.
What is the history of Nelson’s? “Buzzy’s dad, Lee Nelson, started this in 1935. Buzzy’s dad passed away in the early 60s. Buzzy had just started at North Central (Naperville College). Buzzy dropped out of college, ran the store with her mother.
“We didn’t exist for a year and a half after Buzzy sold the original property to downtown Washington and Van Buren. We closed in late 2000. We all went our separate ways. I went to a another store. It was OK, it just wasn’t the same. I said to Buzzy ‘We have to open it again somewhere.’ We opened here in 2002.
Is there a busy period? “Summer is always busier. Winter is not so busy anymore.
Why this? “The mechanical stuff, the carburetors, didn’t like the cold. The electronics don’t mind the cold.
How many people work here? “Just the two of us, me and Guy Barenbugge. He has been at this for over 40 years. “
Is there still a sense of satisfaction when you solve a problem? “Oh yeah. Find something that’s just a very weird, weird issue that’s going on with a vehicle.
Funny stories? “There were heat shields above the exhaust system. There was a nut that a squirrel or a gopher put up there. It would roll, but never fall. ‘before and you heard it. Bam. You start up and hear it. Bam. … I got it. It was weird. I gave the nut to the owner.
Negative points? “Long hours. I’m here from 7:30 a.m. (morning) until 6 p.m. Plus, an hour and a half in the car every day. That’s why we’re not open on weekends. Saturdays and Sundays are for the family.
What misconceptions do people have? “That we are crooks. That we are dishonest. There are many who are. Mr. Nelson did not teach me to do this. He was always honest. Why would I want to change that? »
What is your business philosophy? “Treat everyone the same.”
What impact has the virus had? “We didn’t have to close. … When it first hit, the first week or two was a bit slow. After that, people who worked at home started bringing their cars. We were going crazy. We had too much to do for both of us. And we are still like that.
Do you want to hire someone? “It gets to this point, yes.”
What is your advice for someone starting a business? “I have no advice. Just (wish them) good luck.
If you know of a business you’d like to see featured in Down to Business, contact Steve Metsch at [email protected].
Steve Metsch is a freelance writer for the Naperville Sun.