Canal Auto Rebuilders is closing March 31st, 2019
The end of an era
Well, after 12 years, it seems that Canal Auto Rebuilders will be closing. We have had a great run. We met a lot of great people, repaired and build a lot of cool cars, won some awards and I have had the pleasure of working with some great guys.
It was always my life’s passion to restore cars and in 2007, an opportunity was presented to me to buy Canal. We finalized the sale and moved into the Lockport, IL location April 3rd, 2007. It was an existing business and had its own struggles, so it took several years and surviving a recession for us to change the perception of the business and create the good name we are now known for. We were at the Lockport location for 10 years and signed the new lease on April 1st of 2017, for our current location in Crest hill, IL. The move never really took off as I had hoped. We (my employees and I) got together late 2016 and collectively decided to move into a bigger shop with potential to grow. We were doing less collision and things seemed to be taking off for the restoration side of the business. We had some potential new accounts, a lot of new clients and were working on cars that were part of a local car club we were affiliated with and things looked bright for us. The move took longer to finalize and as usual, cost more than expected. Not long after the move, we had a huge turnover of employees. It was totally unexpected to me and it was a struggle to replace the guys that agreed to the move with me in the first place. The problems that I had were not just production issues from the small shop but apparently were more internal problems that I was not aware of. I did find some new guys and things were getting back on track.
Fast forward two more years. The current land lord has decided that it was in his best interest to put the building up for sale again and has sold the building I am in. I only rent the front portion of this building and he never was able to get a decent tenant in the back part due to zoning issues and no store front or street presence. The new owner wants the entire building and has decided to not renew my lease that expires March 31st, 2019. Considering the options of either moving again or closing, my family and I have decided to close the doors and move on to the next chapter in our lives. It’s a very hard thing to do. As stated earlier, this has been a lifelong passion of mine to own my own restoration shop. So, it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to the clients, friends and people I have met and worked with. I truly appreciate all the loyalty, help, Family and friends that I have gotten to know. This hot rod car culture that we are all a part of has truly become a family to me.
I have found a new position at an up and coming hot rod shop/dealership opening spring of 2019. It’s called Heaton Hot Rods. I will start out as a working production manager overseeing the builds and budgets of those builds. It will be a lot of the same builds we were doing at Canal. The main focus will be to buy project cars, finish restoring them or rebuilding them as resto mods with upgraded interiors, suspensions, electronics, fuel delivery etc.… to resell. The vision of the owner is to become a hub for this area that people in the car culture can come to, hang out, have car shows, get service, buy parts, have them installed if need be or even buy completed cars off the showroom. Once things take off, I will be managing several technicians and overseeing the hotrod shop and builds. It looks to be a great opportunity for me so wish us luck.
Thanks again for everything over the years and I will see you all around at the shows, Jim Korous
P.S. Hopefully I will have a little free time now to finish my own project.
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