AHA Repairs opens on Main Street
A new mechanic's shop, the AHA Auto Service Center, recently opened at 834 W. Main, the former location of Ronda Auto. The building has been vacant since 2018. It's a good time to open a repair shop in Lowell, some of the local ones are scheduling days or weeks ahead of time.
Describing himself as “self-motivated,” owner Ryan O'Connor said he grew restless as somebody else's employee and was compelled to strike out on his own and become his own boss. He has been successful enough at this to be able to open AHA's second location right here in downtown Lowell.
“When this building came up as available I looked it up, and M-21 gets 15,000 to 20,000 cars a day driving by here,” O'Connor said. “I already had a couple certified technicians working for me at the other location, and I thought I could keep them busier with automotive repair over here.”
AHA is based in Ionia, where O'Connor lives and plans to maintain the original location. O'Connor started the company in 2016, and said the original focus was the repair and maintenance of agricultural machines and heavy equipment. He spent several years training on and working with machines for John Deere.
“My background is in agricultural repair,' O'Connor said. “The Ionia location is going to be more for the heavy equipment and agricultural side of things. Agriculture is really busy in the spring and fall, but in between is really hard unless you have a wide customer base. So I started working on automobiles, and that's how we got started.”
He began leasing the shop in October, but the opening was delayed a bit after O'Connor's house burned down. He is currently staying in a camper while that situation is sorted out.
“We've just been dealing with a lot of other things,” O'Connor said. “It happened Dec. 12, and it is what it is. We were insured!”
O'Connor said his grandparents were Lowell natives, he has relatives in town and he attended Lowell High School for a brief period.
“I've been in and around Lowell my whole life and I have a lot of friends who live in Lowell,” O'Connor said. “My parents have as well. It is a growing town, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I think there's room for us and everybody to prosper here, and grow. Now my family can actually start using me for a repair facility!”
For more information or for auto service, call 616-902-2369 or 616-755-6914.
“When I got my first job, my mom said that life is too short to do something you hate,” O'Connor said. “I've always kind of stuck to that, and I love what I do. I like being able to provide for my employees while providing a service for the community.”