Photos by Lucie Roy / Story by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Dust flew on 100 Street Monday morning as a two-bay car wash was torn to the ground to make way for the future home of Morinville Autobody. The building – located in the compound of the 100 Street business – was knocked into a pile of rubble shortly after 9:30 Monday morning. But from the rubble will rise a larger and more state-of-the-art operation to be completed hopefully by Christmas.
Owner Steve Hammond said the decision to build a new facility was to keep up with demand.
“With the town growing and the area growing, we’re finding that we’ve basically maximized our use of this current building,” Hammond said. “In order to grow with the community and grow with the way things are going, we decided we would give ourselves some more room to work, and on top of that – put in some new equipment to make us a bit more efficient at what we do so we can turn vehicles around a little quicker.”
Hammond said with the growth in his business, it has become difficult working in a 40-foot wide building. Rather than add on to the existing building, they decided to build a new one where the old car wash stood. Hammond said the car wash was purchased 15 to 20 years ago when the business expanded to include tow trucks. “We needed space for more vehicles,” he said, adding the car wash was then used for its original purpose. “We used it to clean up vehicles that were in the shop.”
The 35-foot by 35-foot car wash will be replaced with a 6,000 square foot auto body centre to be built by 988 Synergy. The new building will be 2,000 square feet larger than the existing operation. “What it does for us is it allows us to move vehicles within the building a lot easier,” he said. “Here – we just don’t have that luxury. Going with a wider building allows us to manipulate the vehicles easier.”
Hammond said once the new building is completed, the existing building will likely get a facelift and may eventually be leased to a complimentary business.
But there is more to the expanded facility than just additional room. Hammond will be implementing the latest in painting and auto body technology.
“The way it’s set up, we’re looking at putting in a brand new, completely state-of-the-art paint booth,” Hammond said, noting the booth will be a full down-draft paint booth. Additionally, there will be a stand-alone area for painters to mix their paint and two down-draft prep areas. “The other thing we’re doing is we’re adding a resistant spot welder. It cleans up some of the welds and makes things a little quicker. It replicates factory welding.”
Although Hammond anticipates the construction of the new facility will mean planning how to move vehicles around in temporarily tighter quarters, he does not anticipate any interruptions to servicing customers. “It’ll be business as usual here without too much interruption,” he said.