- July 15, 2009
MANATEE COUNTY — Craig Chapin and Brian Lewis are known as the handymen around their Mill Creek neighborhood.
They’ve fixed everything from lawn mowers to chainsaws and even a hydraulic log splitter for their neighbors. But their real forte is anything automotive.
And now after years of working at mechanic shops and fixing cars for neighbors, the longtime friends have launched their own full-service automotive repair shop off Lena Road.
The business, Chapin and Lewis Automotive, opened June 1, combining the men’s 45 years of experience in repairing foreign and domestic vehicles.
Located east of Interstate 75, the shop offers everything from oil changes to engine overhauls. The duo is even working on building an engine for a racecar for a neighbor.
Chapin and Lewis said they love their work and they especially enjoy being able to do it together and with their families.
While Craig Chapin and Brian Lewis are up to their elbows in grease, their wives — Davina Chapin and Laura Lewis — are handling office responsibilities.
Friends and neighbors pitched in to get their new shop ready for business.
“We had a lot of help from family and friends to get this place going,” Lewis said, noting friends helped with electrical and plumbing, among other things.
Even their children are spending time around the office over the summer.
Besides allowing them to schedule their work around their families, the new business venture also enables Chapin and Lewis to combine their skills working on both domestic and foreign cars.
“One person really can’t know everything,” Chapin said. “We work (well) together.”
The shop’s opening is a dream come true for Chapin. With nearly 20 years in the automotive business, he already had been offering repair work on the side. Lewis was doing much of the same thing at his home down the street.
“That’s how we started doing this together,” Lewis said.
As time went on, the men began to see a business partnership forming.
“Two years ago is when we really started doing everything together,” Chapin said. “We started building a clientele through friends and word of mouth.”
And a few months ago, Chapin found the perfect spot to open up a shop.
“Once we decided to do it, it was like, ‘Why wait?’” Chapin said.
The partners say it’s the perfect time to start their automotive business because people are having their vehicles repaired rather than buying new ones.
The business is fully licensed and insured. Appointments are preferred but are not necessary depending on how quickly the work needs to be done.
Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].
Chapin and Lewis Automotive
ADDRESS: 7905 34th Ave. E., Bradenton
HOURS: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday