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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Biz Beat: Walter’s Autobody Marks Half a Century of Car Repairs in Schenectady

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SCHENECTADY — This year marks the golden jubilee of Walter’s Autobody on ‍Crane Street. The owner, Joe Eugene Walter, is passing⁤ down the wisdom he received from his father to the next‍ generation: the ⁢significance of quality and reputation in business.

“The key ‌to success is getting ‍it ⁣right the ⁢first time, rather than having to redo ‍it,” Walter ‌shared.

Joe ​Eugene Walter, alongside his father Eugene Walter, established Walter’s Auto Body Inc. in 1974. ‌Initially located on Jay Street, the business eventually relocated‌ to 1305 Crane St., where ‍it has become a cornerstone⁤ of the ⁢community over the years.

“Seeing ‌the business thrive for 50 years is truly rewarding,” Joe Eugene Walter expressed. “My father always⁣ told me to keep‍ the business‍ running if⁤ he were to pass away, and I made a promise to him that I would.”

Now, Joe Eugene⁢ Walter works part-time, with his son, Joe Edward Walter, managing the mechanical‌ aspect of the business, and his nephew, ⁤John Walter Jr., overseeing the autobody shop.⁢ Other‍ family members, including Joe⁢ Eugene‍ Walter’s brother John Walter, his daughter Michelle Crispino, and his niece Alicia Jimenz, also contribute to ⁣the business, handling the front‌ office.

Joe Edward Walter ‌considers taking over ‍the business a ⁣great​ honor.

“It’s a dream⁣ come true,” he said.

Joe Eugene Walter reflected on the changes that⁢ have occurred over the past 50 years.

“Cars have become more complex to repair due to the integration of computer systems. ‍This requires more training and learning to keep up ‍with the advancements. It ⁤was simpler back in the day, but now it’s quite complicated,” ⁣he explained.

The business caters to a wide range of vehicles, from modern cars to classic models like ‍a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr, and⁢ even luxury cars. ⁢Joe ​Eugene Walter ⁢mentioned that they ⁤have repaired numerous Porsches, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis over the years.

However,⁢ with the increasing complexity of cars, costs have risen, ⁢and finding skilled mechanics ⁤has become more challenging,​ according to Joe Eugene Walter.

Despite the business ​being busy with several cars in ​the shop, there have ​been ⁣periods of​ slow business,⁣ particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a‌ frightening time,” he admitted. “The government’s ⁢financial⁤ aid was a lifeline for many businesses, helping them ‍stay afloat until ‌things improved.”

With business now booming, Joe Eugene⁣ Walter has been considering expansion, but finding the right location has been a​ challenge.

“We would love to move to a larger location, but ⁢finding a suitable‍ place without spending⁢ millions is difficult,” he said.

Despite the ​challenges, the family continues to work diligently, servicing as many cars as possible. For Joe Eugene Walter, ​his passion for‍ cars extends beyond his business. At home, ⁢he has ‌a larger garage where he spends time working on his collection of cars, which⁤ includes several classic Fords,⁤ a 1938 ⁣Buick, a 1965‍ Chevrolet pickup truck, a 1969⁣ Chevrolet ‍Chevelle,⁢ and a ⁢1975 El Camino.

“Our⁢ longevity in this business is a testament to our passion and ​dedication. We didn’t stick around because we had no other options, but⁣ because we love what​ we do. Even on tough⁤ days, we persevered and did what was necessary to succeed. Our⁤ commitment to doing ⁤things ⁤the right ‌way​ is‍ the key,” Joe Eugene Walter concluded.

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Juniper Li
Juniper Li
Juniper Li, with her roots in documentary filmmaking, brings a unique narrative style to local news reporting. A graduate of NYU’s Journalism program, Ava has a keen eye for stories that capture the essence of community life. Her reporting often highlights local achievements and challenges, drawing on her experience in visual storytelling.
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