By Kristen Miller
HOWARD LAKE, MN Customers of Howard Lake Auto Repair will have an opportunity Saturday, June 27 to say farewell to former owners Bill and Warren Dell and welcome the new owner, Bret Stueven.
After 15 years in business, and at the age of 64, Warren said, “it was time to go” and May 4 he and his brother officially sold the business.
The Dell brothers had been trying for two years to sell the business, but deals just never came to fruition.
The whole while, their intentions had been to sell the auto repair business to someone they knew would take care of their longtime customers well into the future. After two years of trying to find that special someone, the brothers were losing hope. They decided if the business wasn’t sold by summertime, they would just sell the building to whomever would buy it, Warren explained.
Then came Stueven. “I think God sent him,” Warren commented.
Stueven, a native of Howard Lake, grew up on a farm north of town helping his dad fix equipment. He went on to vocational school in St. Cloud for automotive repair and became an ASE certified master technician. Stueven’s first “real” job was working for Dale Schmieg at Dale’s Service in Howard Lake.
After that, he spent 20 years in the automotive repair business, but always had his sights set on owning his own shop in the town in which he grew up.
When the opportunity arose, Stueven met with the Dell brothers over breakfast and a deal was made. It was all a fairly quick transaction, Stueven noted.
Now, Stueven is carrying on the service the Dells’ once provided, this time, as a one-man shop with the assistance of his son, Loren, who will be a senior next year at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School.
Though it’s typically an auto and light-truck repair shop, Stueven said, “Basically anything that comes in the door, we fix.”
Howard Lake Auto Repair is located at 500 13th Avenue, across the street from the bowling alley. The public is invited to a special grand opening event Saturday, June 27 from 1 to 4 p.m.