After 88 years of operation, Heckendorf’s Auto Electric will be closing its doors for good.
Jim Heckendorf’s grandfather opened the shop in 1926 at its original site on Wolfe Street before the shop moved to its present location at the intersection of Center Street and East Olive in downtown Turlock in 1938. Since then Heckendorf’s has been a Turlock mainstay with Jim Heckendorf attributing the shop’s success to its personal philosophy: treat others how you want to be treated.
“I think the personal service and being able to always have a family member here to help has been a big part of it,” said Heckendorf.
For three generations the Heckendorf family has serviced locals’ vehicle needs, but when the opportunity arose for owner Jim Heckendorf to pursue retirement opportunities he decided to sell the lot to next door business Scott Davis Auto Sales who will be expanding its car lot onto the Heckendorf property. Jim and his wife took over the family business in 1986, when Turlock had radically changed in population from the 1920s.
“When the shop opened its doors there were 10,000 people or less and now we’re up to 70,000,” said Heckendorf.
As the town has grown, so has the population’s reliance upon technology which has changed the way individuals do business in all industries, including car repair.
“I think because of the technology it has made it more difficult for small, independent shops like us to be able to afford to serve people,” said Heckendorf.
Despite the change in times Heckendorf’s still tends to vehicles that are as old as their original clients said Heckendorf, noting that the grandchildren of original customers still come to the shop to have the family work on antique vehicles. While these clients will soon need to seek out another car shop, the longstanding relationship between Heckendorf’s and its clients won’t likely fade.
“Turlock has been very good to us,” said Heckendorf. “We’ve been very happy to be here.”