SHOP TALK: Quarantine Blues
I pray this finds everyone healthy and safe from the global pandemic we are facing. Home quarantine had its perks during the first week, as I locked myself in my shop and never looked back. Then the reality of our business not generating ANY income right now set in and promptly removed the fun out of shop time.
During that first week, though, I was able to give Big Red a complete inspection and detailing. I checked every nut and bolt and went through every system with a microscopic approach to detail. This was really fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the marathon 8-hour shop sessions. That was until I received an official notice that the prestigious indoor car show I was invited to be a feature display at, was cancelled due to Covid-19. So the car is ready to race, ready to show, ready to start earning her keep in my garage, but I have nowhere to take her.
My Harley was next in line to get some love and attention. She got a complete service, and I spent an entire day cleaning and detailing every inch of her. I was also able to schedule bike service appointments for all of my annual customers and set up a “no contact” drop off and pick up policy to help ensure everyone’s safety and health.
It is hard to comprehend the environment and make sense of it. A few of my buddies that have full time shops were considered “essential” businesses and were fortunate enough to stay open. This ended up being just a legal perk, though, as customers were not using their cars or wanting to get them serviced. Their employees were also afraid to go to the shop and chose to collect unemployment instead of working. Many of my friends are working long days just trying to salvage any type of income. Like me, most of them can only weather a few more weeks before being forced to close down permanently. I’ve run my small business for 30 years, and during that time I’ve had many ups and downs, but all of them were within some type of my control. What we are facing now is completely out of my control and has the potential to crumble the rock I’ve devoted my entire life to building for my family.
Proud to be an optimist, I look forward to being “allowed” to open and operate my business once again. I will do whatever is necessary to keep the door open and provide a roof over my family. I’m hopeful that the economy will surge to an all-time high and enable the “small business Joe’s” like me, to catch up and take a deep breath of relief. As for my car, she looks amazing in my shop and runs like a champ in my driveway. But she was built to travel and attend events. Our state has a ban on all “non-essential” travel so taking her on the street is clearly out of the question. It will also be kind of hard to explain that I’m going food shopping on my Harley. So for now, my passion for motorsports has been limited to riding my dirt bike and 4-wheeler around our farm, which I’m actually thrilled about, because under normal circumstances I NEVER have time for that kind of fun. Who knows, maybe it’s time for a nitrous or turbo upgrade on my dirt toys. This could be fun and dangerous at the same time.
I hope this article brought you some enjoyment and reinforced that you are not alone during these unprecedented times. We are most definitely in this together, and I look forward to the future, looking back on this time with a sense of pride on our ability to weather the storm and emerge stronger than ever.
Until next time,