From learning the trade in high school auto shop to opening his own business, mechanic Al Komarevich is excited to welcome customers into his business’ new backyard at a new location.
Moving to 36 Shadow Rd. in the Ghostrider subdivision, Komarevich had been running his auto-shop Backyard Mechanical out of a small, rented shop located at 2 Manitou Rd. for 14 years.
“I started out really small, just as a small-scale repair shop. Nothing big but it quickly escalated into full-blown mechanical repair, heavy truck and equipment,” said Komarevich.
Eventually, business boomed to such an extent that the small shop couldn’t accommodate the work any longer.
“We had to move into a bigger space just because we were running out of space and we had so many large-scale jobs, we had to move up,” he explained.
Having a full garage and customer list hadn’t always been the plan for Komarevich, who began his interest in mechanics when he was in high school, taking auto shop classes in Grades 10 and 11.
Following graduation, he got under the hood of some cars when he completed an apprenticeship at the Ford Dealership and several other shops in Fernie.
By the early ’80s, Komarevich had decided he wanted to move on to a different industry.
“I dropped out of the trade and I wanted to try something else,” he said.
It didn’t take long for the automotive industry to get his engine running again.
“I couldn’t really stay away,” he admitted, “so I opened the business in 2001.”
In the year leading up to the business opening, Komarevich said he took several courses in order to “get back on track” with the trade as well as taking a test to be certified to deal with heavy duty projects.
Education, for Komarevich, has been a cornerstone of the business.
Having created a name for himself in the community through several decades of automotive work, Komarevich decided to go back to the classroom and look for young students who may be interested in getting into the trade just like he did.
Assisting young graduates just out of high school, Komarevich offers apprenticeships and assistance in registering for the four-year licensed automotive technician program.
“It’s important to me because these kids need to have a break just like I did. Someone gave me a chance and I’m looking to give these kids that chance to further their education,” he said.
To date Komarevich has employed three young adults who have completed the 24-week apprenticeship program, which is spread out over four years.
While building his employee base and settling into a new space, Komarevich wanted to have an official grand opening/Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the business’ big move.
“I never wanted to get this big, but it happened and it’s been great. I think we’ve really been embraced by the community,” he said. “So we’d like to have a Customer Appreciation Day to invite people to stop by, have a look at the shop, and discuss any vehicle needs or work that they may need to have done.”
The grand opening/appreciation will take place on Saturday, July 4 from 11-2 p.m. at Backyard Mechanical’s new location.
Backyard Mechanical offers complete automotive as well as commercial and heavy truck repair. Backyard’s new location also operates as an official B.C. Inspection Facility.