Customers coming back as auto shop owner decides to reopen

The July 19 flash flood along Deep Hollow Road ripped apart Joe Eckel’s automotive business nestled beside Lower Two Mile Run.

Lost in the flooding were customers’ cars, auto bays, tools, an office and more, all associated with Eckel Automotive that had been on Deep Hollow Road for 16 years.

Eckel, who early on said “I’m done” in considering whether to reopen, decided a month ago that maybe another shot at doing business was possible. He cleaned up debris, downsized his buildings and quickly began drawing back customers to his one-man shop.

This week, the restoration scene was complete with the reopening of Deep Hollow Road after extensive roadway repairs were completed.

“I didn’t really need the traffic going by but it’s good to see,” said Eckel. “And I’m doing fine.”

Just recently, Eckel completed all the paperwork necessary to get his vehicle inspection operations going again. Loyal customers, too, are returning to have their vehicles repaired.

“I got my shop where I can work out of. And I have the tools I need to stay in business,” said Eckel. “I kinda stay away from the big stuff now.”

Eckel said he intends to tear down the damaged office building but retain a larger structure used as a garage.

“I have a desk sitting here, and a recliner,” he said. “That’s enough.”

Eckel set up his shop along Deep Hollow Road 16 years ago after leaving his job at the Gulf gas station on Franklin’s 8th Street.

While his clientele list today is short, it is enough to satisfy the business owner.

“My business is coming back after the flood,” said Eckel. “People know where I am and they know my work.”