Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Brad Holtkamp Automotive Inc. celebrated 25 years of service Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast.
Community members were invited to join in the celebration, featuring pancakes, sausage and several beverages. There were also snow cones and cotton candy for an after-meal snack.
Visitors put their name in a raffle to win numerous prizes, including a free oil change, a tire rotation, a T-shirt or a custom cup. There was also a competition of who could name the most parts of a car.
For owner Mari Holtkamp, she's thankful for the community support over the years and those that have been customers from the beginning.
"We're very grateful for the community supporting us over the years," she said. "We still have customers that started with us 25 years ago."
She never imagined that they would have made it to this point.
"I never thought we would be here," Holtkamp said. "When Brad started out, we were in a two-car garage. After three years of doing that, we built a shop behind our home, which was great because our kids were little, and they could get off the school bus, and we were there."
The Holtkamps worked in the building behind their home for around 15 years before Brad came home one day and told Mari, “I want you to come look at a building with me.” Brad had the idea of moving the business out of the country and into town.
The building in question was the old Access Energy building, which at the time had been sitting empty for five years. It was dusty and dirty. Mari said that Brad saw its potential.
"He had the vision in his head," she said. "He could see how it could be turned into a repair shop."
Initially, work had to be done to the building so that vehicles could fit inside. They decided to cut out a portion of the mezzanine and had to put up a wall in the basement. Concrete work was done to fill in the space creating deeper bays. This work allowed cars and toolboxes to fit inside.
For owner Brad Holtkamp, it's a dream come true.
"Did I ever think I'd make it 25 years?" he asked. "You always hope. You look ahead. No matter where you are in your life. What are your goals? A goal unwritten's a dream. Did I ever write it down? No, but I knew where my dream was going to take me. This is something I have always wanted to do. It's hard to reflect back on how we got here. You just keep plugging away. You continue to evolve as things change."