Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 23, 2004

Pit Stop expands service into tires, general auto repair

By Liz Hellmann

A fusion of experience and entrepreneurship this month resulted in the formation of Pit Stop Tire and Auto, located east of Howard Lake along Highway 12.

Formerly known as the Howard Lake Fast Lube, the business is a partnership between Brad Miller, owner of Fast Lube, and Randy Brandel, owner of Flat Out Tire Service.

“We’re just expanding the fast lube that was here to offer more services,” Brandel said.

Miller continues to own the Pit Stop complex with his father, Rod.

Brandel, who is from Cokato, brings 24 years of experience working with tires to the partnership, and began Flat Out Tire about a year and a half ago.

Flat Out Tire Service will now be operated out of the Pit Stop. Fast lube services will continue in the same building.

The new business specializes in alignment, as well as offering automobile and light truck brake service, general automotive repair, and truck tire repair and services.

“We handle from lawn mower tires to tractor tires and are able to service and offer all major brands of tires,” Brandel said.

They are also able to service industrial tires and offer truck tire repair and services. “Anyone with truck tires can come in. No where else in Howard Lake does that,” Brandel said.

The biggest addition to the new business, however, is an automotive tire balancer.

The balancer can find out the balance of not only the tire, but also the rim, enabling it to fine tune the tire to achieve the utmost balance. “There are very few machines that do that,” Brandel said.

Reportedly only three such machines are being used now in the entire state of Minnesota.

Although a grand opening celebration is scheduled for September, planning for the partnership began early on in May.

“Brad saw the need for this kind of service and contacted me,” Brandel said. “We thought his facility would work well.”

“These are all key things that are going to be offered that haven’t before in Howard Lake,” Brandel said.

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