Five months ago, Shane Koopman’s life changed overnight when his mechanic shop Koop's Auto burned down, but he is getting back on his feet, providing remote vehicle repair while planning the construction of a new building.
Koopman lost his building and $800,000 in equipment to fire on June 29. Rechargeable lithium batteries were determined to be the cause of the blaze.
It took three months for Koopman to get an insurance payout for his equipment and now he is offering pick-up and drop-off repair service for customers from his location on Government Road.
“We are excited and happy to be back, the clients are,” he said. “When you are in business that long, you get a rapport with your clients. They are happy to see us and we are helping them keep their vehicles on the road. It hurt that we couldn’t for four months but now we are back in business and my staff is excited and I’m excited.”
They can offer all their regular services except commercial inspections.
After the fire, Koopman said he received a lot of encouragement to re-open.
“We had good support from the community,” said Koopman. “There were a lot of best wishes and hope to see you back rebuilding soon messages.”
Koopman said he didn’t know what to do with himself when the shop burned down.
“It was a shock after 26 years of being in business,” he said.
It was natural to just keep going to the shop every day so that is what he did the day after the fire and for the weeks afterward.
“We were at the fire site, the business site, every day over probably the next two weeks, just getting personal belongings out of there and trying to figure out how to move,” he said. “After 26 years, I didn’t know how to recover so I just went there.”
Now Koopman said he is working on plans for a new much larger building where he will do his mechanic work and lease out the remaining space to other businesses.
“The Town needs growth,” Koopman said. “The Town has told me there is a list of at least 12 to 20 people who are looking to start businesses in the Black Diamond, Turner Valley area and looking for leases, but there is no place to lease.”
Planning for the new building has just got started and Koopman expects it will be between 15,000 to 20,000 square feet. His shop will take up between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet, the same size it was before the fire. He said construction will begin next year on the new building.