Kennewick auto repair shop gears up for expansion

After growing his business from a mobile shop run out of a Jeep, Nathan Goetsch looks forward to rolling up the doors at his new 5,600-square-foot automotive repair building at 8504 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick.

Goetsch, the sole owner and operator of Platinum Automotive, is taking the plunge to finance his own $1.3 million building with the same risk-taking spirit that led him to start his own business a decade ago.

“I worked for a lot of people and a lot of different shops for a lot of years, and when I left the last job, I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this myself or I’ll hate myself for the rest of my life for not trying.’ ”

Goetsch started working out of his home garage, advertising on Craigslist and using his Jeep to perform mobile service.

His shop is now a full-scale operation that does almost any kind of repair. His current location is at 532 S. Steptoe St., Suite 110.

Platinum Automotive, 532 S. Steptoe St., is moving to West Clearwater Avenue. (Courtesy Robin Wojtanik)

“What we don’t do is fixed glass and body work,” he said. “Like windshields or anything glued into the car. Otherwise, we do anything mechanical, plus wheels and tires.”

Goetsch never expected this would be his profession, though he says he’s always been a “hands-on person.” He got into automotive work purely by happenstance.

“At the start of high school, I was being lazy, and I wanted to do robotics. When I went to go do my electives, they said there was nothing available anymore but automotive. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to work on cars.’ But within a couple months of being in that class, I figured out that’s what I wanted to do, or that’s what I enjoyed at least.”

While in school, he was part of a team at Kennewick’s Tri-Tech Skills Center that took first place in the state in a high school automotive competition sponsored by Ford.

They competed nationally and placed in the top 50, Goetsch recalled.

He dabbled in construction, but automotive work is where his passion lies.

“I got sucked into it because when you’re done with what you’re doing, you have a sense of completion. You know you have something you can look at and say, ‘I did that, and I did it right, and it works.’ ”

His technique and trust earned Platinum Automotive hundreds of positive reviews on the shop’s website – an admirable feat in an industry where customers are often skeptical of honest repair work.

“We definitely try to make sure we develop relationships with our customers,” Goetsch said. “Not only do they trust us, but they trust us enough to tell their friends and family, or somebody at the gas station. Most of our business comes from referrals and word of mouth.”

Over the years, his business and role has expanded. He employs three full-time technicians and expects to hire a couple more once the new shop opens.

He’s proud of the low turnover with his team. “I don’t think I have an employee who’s been here less than three years,” he said.

The new shop will be funded with a private commercial loan from Numerica that Goetsch secured shortly after his mom died.

“The dream was always to have my own place. So, we’ve been trying to get toward that for a long time. When I got a little bit of an inheritance, it was the forcing scenario to try to do something with it.”

A foundation has been poured and Nathan expects to open around the end of the year or beginning of 2023.

Business is strong and the pandemic did nothing to slow that.

“New vehicles are still almost impossible to get a hold of, and it made older vehicles worth way more than they should be, so it made sense for people to keep the vehicle they already had,” he said.

The new location will include six bays for repairs, but Goetsch hopes to keep the small-shop family atmosphere he has established.

“Having fewer guys means we may not be able to get as much done in a certain time frame, but everybody actually cares about what’s going on around here,” he said.

Platinum Automotive: 532 S. Steptoe St., Suite 110, Kennewick; 509-410-4080; @platinumautomotiveservices. Hours:
8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

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