Slayton's Hegstad Auto getting new ownershipSLAYTON — A new partnership is in its transition stage for the future co-owners of Hegstad Auto, Jim Gleis and Steve Illg. Both men have been around cars their whole life.
SLAYTON — A new partnership is in its transition stage for the future co-owners of Hegstad Auto, Jim Gleis and Steve Illg. Both men have been around cars their whole life.
Gleis explained that Hegstad Auto was previously owned by his father and the Wynard family before he took over the business after his father’s death. Gleis grew up around cars and attended a vo-tech school in Pipestone for two years before returning to Hegstad.
“Everyone said I was good at it, so I stuck with it,” he added about how his career began.
Illg came into the picture when Gleis approached him for a potential partnership agreement.
Having worked with automotive maintenance and repairs for 33 years, Illg currently owns Steve’s Alignment and Repair in Slayton.
“My 10-year lease was expiring when Jim approached me,” he explained.
Hegstad Auto depends on regular customers — primarily people from the area, Gleis said. Some local residents who’ve moved away still frequent Hegstad for their car issues.
“They wait ’til they have a bunch of stuff to fix and then they come back because it’s cheaper,” Illg added.
During a typical day, work is shared between Gleis and employee Jody Onken. With the stream of loyal customers, the pair is kept busy.
Hegstad Auto offers a variety of services from general auto maintenance and alignment to sale of used cars.
“If it’s a vehicle that needs work, we can do it,” Illg said.
Gleis explained that their used cars are usually purchased at auctions. He tries to maintain the value of the cars to less than $8,000.
“If it’s anything above that, we have to put a motor in,” he said. “It’s (sale of used cars) pretty slow now, but it’ll pick up in spring.”
According to Gleis, the partnership will be in place by Dec. 1. Illg will continue to operate his current auto shop until then, but he’s hopeful that his customers will follow him when he moves to Hegstad.