New auto-shop opens in Torrington
TORRINGTON — Torrington is welcoming a new auto shop on Friday when the Goshen County Chamber and Goshen County Economic Development hold the ribbon cutting celebration for Pioneer Performance Auto and Equipment.
The shop was dreamed up by co-owners Tony Goulart and Aric Wantoch. Both have automotive backgrounds: Goulart has an associate’s degree in automotive technology and went through a Ford college training program and Wantoch spent 15 years working in a shop. They met driving trucks, and as they became friends they spent a lot of time talking about working in shops.
“A few months ago, we started thinking about what it would take for us to get back into the industry and start a shop,” Goulart said.
The pair decided that opening a shop in Torrington made sense, as there appeared to be excess demand for auto work.
“It seems like there’s a capacity problem,” he said. “There’s just not enough shops in Torrington. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get in because they’re so booked up, and it just seemed like an opportunity for an area that we could move into and fill some of that demand.”
Wantoch, who owned his trucking company before going into the body shop, thought it would be simpler to remain his own boss alongside Goulart. He also liked the idea of being able to stay in one place.
“Just getting localized so where you aren’t dealing with the roads and everything else, is a little bit better than driving all over the country,” he said.
“Aric and I agreed that not only we could do the job, that we’d be able to stand behind our work,” Goulart said. “Once we agreed that that we could do it and do it well, we decided to go for it.
The building the shop occupies was originally built for Goshen Diesel Service, and for a time was used as a metal and fabrication shop.
“It was completely empty, except for some equipment the owner of the building was storing here,” Goulart said. “It was a clean slate. It was a little bit daunting to try to position everything so that we could get the best use of the space we could, but I think we succeeded.”
The pair have expertise on nearly every vehicle system, short of upholstery and body work. “All the major automotive systems, Aric and I are ready to take on,” Goulart said.
The shop will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will take non-appointment oil changes on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wantoch said the schedule is supposed to work with their customer’s needs.
“Most people’s schedules are 8 to 5 and most automotive shops close at 5,” he said. “If you get out of work and you need something done, it’s hard to do it if all the shop’s are closed. Being open a little longer gives us a little more accessibility for people to get in.”