Automotive supply chain issues haven’t driven this mechanic mom out of business
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“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were mandated to shut down to slow the spread of the virus, but businesses deemed essential did not have to abide by the same rules. Many states, including California, even created a list of what operations were considered essential versus nonessential.
Erin Gomes owns Bavarium Autoworks in Mountain View, California. Gomes opened up her car repair business back in March 2020 — just weeks before the state’s shelter-in-place order took effect, but she was able to get the business up and running. Now, almost two years since she opened shop, things have fared pretty well for the small-business owner.
“We were considered essential, so we were able to keep the doors, well, not literally open. Those have been closed quite a bit, but we’ve been able to stay in business,” she said.
Gomes, a mother of three, said juggling a business while taking care of her kids is no easy feat. “Being a mom and running a business and a toddler and a newborn in the same household, while I am working from home, is very difficult. While I’m answering phone calls, I’m teaching her ABCs in between phone calls and emails.”
Gomes has also run into her fair share of difficulties with the supply chain. “Parts availability has been very difficult. With every manufacturer, car that we work with, they used to come over within a day, but we’re finding some crucial parts to cars — things to keep the cars on the road — are on back order.”
This was a concerning issue for Gomes, especially when one of her customers needed an ignition coil. “Mercedes was telling me flat out that they have zero status for us, they could be months, and the car was not drivable,” she said. By chance, Gomes was able to find another source who provided the valuable parts to get her customer back behind the wheel.
Aside from the supply chain worries, Gomes is hopeful for the business.
“I just want to build the business bigger and be able to have some help for me so that I’m able to take in more work,” she said. “I would like to hire more people, be able to make more car owners happy.”
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