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More Than Grease and Gears

Learn how Stang Auto Tech brings community together.

Article by Kevin Getz

Photography by David Glessner Works

Originally published in Broomfield Lifestyle

Humans have always been exploring. Whether to find food, water, shelter, or even to discover what is over the next mountain, that exploration has been limited by how fast they can travel and what they can imagine. A baby’s crawl can’t take them far, but it sure can get them into trouble, as any parent can attest. A walking child can venture even farther from home to see the world and meet new people. Progressing to a bicycle and what seems an impossible distance to travel on foot becomes a breeze. Increased mobility helps us more easily determine what types of people and places we enjoy.

For many of us, the ultimate freedom to explore comes from driving an automobile. How many teenagers retire their bicycle the day they get their driver’s license and first car? Being alone in your car can be a private retreat as you drive along a winding mountain road or through the serene eastern plains. At other times, you can be alone in your car but surrounded by thousands of people on I-25 during rush hour. Some folks use a car simply for transportation. They fill it with gas and forget about everything else. Others go to the opposite extreme by keeping their vehicle spotless, name it, and treat it like part of the family. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, each provides its own way to explore. The automobile allows us to connect with others, make friends, and share experiences.

That all stops when your car breaks down. No one gleefully states, “My car is in the shop.” When your two-ton friend is grounded, your emotional and financial well-being takes a hit. What are some things you can do to prevent that from happening? 

“Budget for maintenance, even if you own a new car,” says Robert Blaes, the owner of Stang Auto Tech, who has been working on cars at his Broomfield shop since 1996. “People naturally budget for the car payment, gasoline, and insurance, but they often fail to budget for maintenance and repairs. Without proper maintenance, your vehicle will end up needing more frequent and costly repairs.”

“The number of moving parts in a car is amazing,” states the former Rocky Flats electrician turned auto enthusiast. “Our vehicles are exposed to extreme heat and cold, snow, rain, hail, dust, bumpy roads, potholes, and the added hazards of congested traffic. It’s surprising that cars don’t break down more often!”

Next, Robert recommends finding a good mechanic and then sticking with them. How do you know if you’ve found the right shop? “Interview them. Ask them their thoughts on maintenance and repairs. Ask them if they will explain why certain preventive procedures are necessary and what is involved with eventual repairs. It’s about having a relationship with your mechanic. When you find a good one, stick with him and tell your friends.”

With 28 years in the same location on West 116th Avenue, Stang Auto Tech has built a reputation for fostering relationships with both clients and staff. They have three expert technicians, three apprentices, five interns, and two service advisors. The business is a family affair with his wife, three sons, daughter-in-law, and mother also involved.

Robert bought his first car, a broken-down Ford Mustang, as a high school project. His father and grandfather, part-time mechanics, cheered him on. He still owns that car. He continued to spend evenings and weekends doing the “gear-head thing,” almost exclusively on Mustangs. When he quit working at Rocky Flats to open a full-time auto service shop, he naturally named it Stang Auto Tech because of his love for Mustangs.

Stang is now a fixture in Broomfield. Many of their clients come from as far away as Castle Rock and Brighton, a testament to their work ethic and dedication. “It’s not just about parts and labor. It’s really a service that we provide, and parts and labor are just two of the ingredients,” Robert explains. 

Grateful to the community for its success, Stang celebrates by hosting an annual Customer Appreciation Day scheduled for September 7th, 2024, from 11:00 – 2:00. This event is a chance for clients and technicians to meet each other outside of the garage. There is a bouncy house for the little ones. Burgers, hot dogs, cookies, soda, and Kona Ice are provided. An amazing car show fills the three surrounding parking lots. There is no fee to show your car or attend. Novice and experienced car renovators can meet, swap stories, and show off their labor of love. Last year, they had 86 cars to admire. It is a fun event for the entire family that gets people outside doing something different. And the cherry on top? The event is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Attendees donate money, and Stang Auto Tech matches those donations. What a great way to explore Broomfield’s vibrant business district, help those in need, and build relationships along the way!

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