MILL CREEK MOTORS
When brothers Chip, Bob, and Chuck Newberg saw the auto repair shop on the intersection of West River Drive, Four Mile Road, and Mill Creek Avenue in Comstock Park come up for a bank sale in 2007, they snapped it up.
“We felt there was a need in the community,” said Chip Newberg. “It had been a used car lot and service station, had been closed for about five years.”
Plus all three loved tinkering with cars while growing up, and owning an auto repair and sales garage would be a kind of extra-curricular activity for them.
“We always did as much of our own auto repair as we good growing up in the 60’s, 70’s because we couldn’t afford to take (our cars) to a garage,” said Newberg. “What turned us into this end of it, our kids were getting to the age they were needing cars. There seems to be a used (car) market for kids that we could take advantage of and help some people.”
The folks at Mill Creek Motors service and sell used cars, all makes and models. Newberg said the shop is “not a major repair shop,” but they do work on brake and exhaust systems. They won’t pull your engine and replace it, but they will do a tune up and change your oil.
There has been several auto repair stations and car lots at the 3867 West River Drive location over the years. While it was vacant, some larger car lots in the area used the lot as a secondary storage sight, said Newberg. He said the location at the intersection was a factor when he and his brothers purchased the building and lot.
“It’s a very busy location, lots of traffic,” he said. “It’s close to the expressway, easy on/easy off, easy to find.”
The brothers own the approximately 2500 square foot building and the lot. They use about 2000 square foot of the space for their auto repair business, renting the rest to River City Motors that sells utility vans. They employ one full-time mechanic, who is Chip’s brother-in-law. They don’t keep an inventory of cars they sell but head-hunt for customers looking for a specific kind of car. Advertising is mainly through word of mouth and the signage on the busy intersection.
Chuck and Chip also own Studio 2 Dental that produces high tech dental restorations in Kentwood. Bob works for a company that installs pace makers. He does the programming of the pace makers after they are implanted.
Chip said they like the small community, neighborhood, and friendly feel of the Comstock Park area.
“We seem to see the same people over and over again,” he said, adding that even when their regular customers buy a new car, it’s going to need some kind of a repair eventually. “We just like interacting with the customers, talking to people.”
The brothers grew up on Grand Rapids’ West side. Chip now lives in Belmont, Bob lives in Spring Lake, and Chuck lives in Rockford.