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Steinle Auto operates under new name

WORTHINGTON -- The name has changed, but H&H Auto & Repair, 1515 Oxford St., will continue to offer the same quality service it did when the business was called Steinle Auto and owned by Mark Steinle.

"This summer I was working for him when he was looking at selling," said Micah Hietbrink, who took over Steinle Auto Jan. 1 with his business partner Chad Harms. The "H&H" name comes from the initials of their last names.

Harms, too, worked for Steinle for a year and a half and joined Hietbrink in taking over the business when Hietbrink didn't want to do it alone.

Both men are graduates of Worthington High School, Hietbrink in 2003 and Harms 10 years earlier in 1993. Both men are also graduates of Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Hietbrink in 2005 and Harms in 1995.

Between the two, they have 18 years of experience with cars at Steinle's and other locations. Harms is even certified to repair diesel engines, an addition to the standard repair operations both men do -- transmissions, engine repairs, tune-ups, oil changes, alignments and brakes.

"I'm really willing to work on diesel pickups," Harms said.

Though Steinle no longer owns the business, he still stops by to chat with the new owners once or twice a week.

Business has been good in the month since Harms and Hietbrink took over. Only the two of them work there, so even though the shop is only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., they work from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. to get everything done.

So far, the business has presented challenges in finding the right parts, but the toughest part has been time -- both prioritizing the repairs that need to be done and finding enough time in the day to do them all. Eventually, Harms and Hietbrink may hire another person to help out, but until then, they're on their own.

"Talking to the customers (has been easy)," Harms said. "We did that before."

As far as they can tell, they didn't lose much business in the changeover. Everyone who went there before continues to go there, and the services haven't changed. The new owners have received positive feedback and no negative feedback.

"Mark and Julie (Steinle) thank all their customers for their support," Harms and Hietbrink said.