New Auto Repair Shop Not Just A Foreign Concept

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BATESVILLE – September 14, 2016 – Operating a foreign car repair business in historic downtown Batesville might seem like a foreign concept to some, but not to Al and Sarah May, owners of May Auto Repair.

The new shop specializes in servicing and repairing foreign vehicles, including Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Lexus and others.  “We are trying to build that clientele,” said Al May.  “We do everything we can: diagnose, computer, mechanical, electrical – everything but tires.”

Volkswagens have a special place in Al’s heart.  “I’ve been working on VWs forever,” he said.  “The first car I had when I was 13 years old was a VW.  Of course it didn’t run, so I had to completely overhaul the engine.  But I got it running and have been working on VWs and foreign cars ever since.”

When Al and Sarah decided to open their business in an existing building at 200 South Central Avenue in downtown Batesville, they recognized a need to refurbish and enclose an existing carport into a drive-through garage.  That project and a few other needs were funded through a $3,600 grant from the Citizens Bank Impact Loan and Grant Program. 

“This program represented a wonderful opportunity for us,” Al said.  “We love the downtown area and the grant and loan program just fit well with what we are doing.”

Citizens Bank earlier this year offered $10 million in low-interest rate loans and $100,000 in grant funds to stimulate the downtown economy and promote historic downtown redevelopment.  The Batesville Downtown Foundation, headed by Bob Carius, evaluated all of the grant applications.

“Everything is coming up downtown,” May said. “There is a lot of excitement in this area with The Pinto restaurant, the Melba Theater, Big’s, and the new 109 tapas bar.  Obviously, Citizens Bank wants to be a part of that, too.  This grant was very helpful to us.”

A native of Southern California, Al said his family first moved to Arkansas when his father was in the military.  “I just fell in love with love Arkansas and Batesville, and all it had to offer, including the river, the mountains,” he said.  Obviously, Al fell in love with something else, too – his wife, Sarah, who is a native of Cave City.

The Mays welcome an opportunity to demonstrate their service and repair capabilities for foreign and domestic vehicles.  The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Additional information about the Citizens Bank Impact Loans and Grants program is available by contacting either Jerrod Sandefur for commercial loans (870-698-6313) or Renee Long for consumer loans (870-698-9678).

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank was founded in 1953 by business and civic leaders to serve the financial needs of middle income families and small businesses.  Citizens Bank works to improve the quality of life for all community residents by promoting educational opportunities, economic growth and innovative civic partnerships.

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Joel Williams