When Howard Hancock left for vacation on Sept. 30, he was contemplating retirement but still had plans to return to his Hancock Automotive at First and Hillside.
While he was gone, though, he had Dennis Schmidt of Mallard Real Estate look for someone to buy or lease his building.
“I was just going to see what came up while I was on vacation,” Hancock says.
The owners of Woody’s Automotive Service & Sales were interested in leasing the space, so Hancock decided not to reopen.
“It’s like divine intervention,” he says. “I couldn’t ask for a better fit for this neighborhood.”
Woody’s already has a shop at 2600 N. Amidon.
“We have a 2-bay shop, and our business has gotten a little overwhelming for a 2-bay shop,” says Pam Southers, who owns the business with her son, Shawn Sarbaum.
Sarbaum started working for Woody’s under another owner when he was 17. He worked there for 13 years and then left for corporate work for a decade.
“He got tired of corporate U.S.A. and wanted to open up a business where we could express our Christian values,” Southers says.
Hancock has been in the automotive business for four decades. He’s had the College Hill shop for 16 years. He specialized in import vehicles. He sold and serviced them.
“I grew up … working on Porsches and Volkswagens and building kit cars,” Hancock says.
He says he’s going to help train the Woody’s staff on working with Land Rovers, which is a big part of his business.
“I’m going to be available for consulting on the changeover, passing the torch if you will,” Hancock says. “I want to make sure that my customers know that they can bring their Land Rovers to them for care.”
He says he’s doing it for his customers and for Woody’s.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re successful.”
Southers says she and her son will take over the Hancock space on Nov. 3 and do some renovation before opening.
She says they’re willing to help any of Hancock’s former clients.
“Whoever wants to stay, well be glad to have them.”