SCHENECTADY – After 64 years, venerable automotive repair shop G&M Auto Tech is closing its garage bays for good in the coming weeks.
Owners Bob Garbellano and Mike Rogan, who have been in business together 26 years, are retiring and closing the 1505 State St. business.
It was founded by Bob’s father Ralph Garbellano, who died in the 2000s, on Union Street in 1957. It since moved into a former Buick dealership on State Street.
Garbellano, 68, said he’s always had a good following of customers and the partners are leaving “on an up beat.”
The closure has nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“We’re leaving on an up beat,” Garbellano said. “It’s just time to enjoy myself.”
However, the owner acknowledged business has been challenging the past 12 months.
“There are trends that get on a roller coaster up, down, up, down,” Garbellano said. “This past year has been probably the worst roller coaster, especially when you get your suppliers calling and saying, ‘Can we get you anything?’ They’re soliciting for work.”
The industry has experienced many changes over the decades.
“We had to keep up with education, with tooling up,” Garbellano said. “That’s changing, my God, it seems like it’s monthly now.
“Cars are computers,” he continued. “You’re not going to look under a hood and say, ‘This is the problem.’ You’ve to to scan it and then you start doing the legwork through it.”
G&M Auto Tech is in the midst of selling the business and property to HSK Motors. Garbellano said he doesn’t know much about the buyer.
“I’m telling my customers they need to try him,” the retiring owner said, “because some of my employees are going to stay.”