Back '2' the future Chaney's 2 auto repair re-opens in DL
BY PAULA QUAM
When you know who you are, you'll know what to do -- and Jon Mickelson knows both.
The auto mechanic of 30 years is once again rolling up his sleeves and re-opening the business that helped make him who he is.
Chaney's auto repair shop has opened back up as "Chaney's 2" on the corner of Washington Avenue and Highway 34.
"Chaney was my father's first name," explained Mickelson, "Over the years people thought his last name was Chaney, so they would call him 'Mr. Chaney,'" he laughed.
The original Chaney started the business back in 1969.
The automobiles looked different then, but the motto has remained.
"My dad was busy for one reason ... because he was honest, affordable and reliable, and when you come here, that's what you're going to get," said Mickelson, who worked for his father starting at the age of 14.
When his father retired in 1988, Mickelson knew he wasn't in the position to operate his own business yet, so he went to work for the Ford dealership in town, becoming a service writer.
With a little more experience and knowledge under his belt, the day came when Mickelson knew he was ready to pick up where his father left off.
"So I purchased his original building back and opened it again as 'Chaney's,'" said Mickelson, who ran the business for over 17 years, along with his business partner, Dan "Scruff" Johnson.
Business was booming over at Chaney's, and Mickelson and Johnson expanded from the original building where Noah's Insurance now sits, to a bigger facility in the industrial park.
"We had a pretty big crew out there -- there were a lot of vehicles going in and out," said Mickelson.
But almost five years ago, the duo took a detour, turning their attention to another business opportunity in the manufacturing industry.
"We tried running both businesses for a while, but it just didn't work out," said Mickelson.
Chaney's closed once again, as equipment was auctioned off and the owners "put all their eggs in one basket."
For about four years Mickelson worked in a world that just didn't suit him.
"Sitting in an office managing bodies just wasn't my cup of tea," said Mickelson, who says he'd rather be talking to people and using his own two hands to fix problems.
After getting out of the manufacturing business, Mickelson worked for a water-testing lab out on County Road 6 for a year, during which time he was "moonlighting" with some mechanical work in his spare time.
That's when OK Tire Owner Bill Block, who Mickelson knew very well, was selling his business.
"He had a great reputation, and when this property came for sale, it was kind of a sign from up above that I should do this because this is what I know -- this is what I do," said Mickelson, who rallied his troops for a quick open.
Friends, family, church members and the "original Chaney" all chipped in for a little remodeling and to get the business back up and running.
Sunday night they were hanging signs and polishing floors; Monday morning they were elbow-deep in vehicle engines.
Cheney's was back, and so was Mickelson.
"To have people come in here with something ailing them and they go out of here and it's fixed, that's what it's all about -- that's what I was put on this Earth for."
Chaney's 2 holds a retail side of several lines of tires, as well as the mechanical side with maintenance and repairs.
With a tagline of "excellence in auto care and repair," there isn't much the crew at Cheney's won't do.
"We'll go as deep as we need to," said Mickelson, "we'll do computer diagnostics, brakes, shocks, struts, tires, accessories, deep engine work -- you name it, we'll fix it."
Back doing what he does, Mickelson is happy he was able to retain his old Cheney's phone number (847-4252).
And he's not the only one that's happy, as the real Chaney still pops in to help here and there.
"He's all smiley," laughed Mickelson, "to see his name back up there again, it's a good thing."
Cheney's 2 is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday though Friday.