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Construction on new Wayne's Auto Body to begin soon

Mark Beer, owner of Wayne's Auto Body in Hastings, is looking forward to his new building.

He's wanted to build for some time, he said, but the timing was never right. Kwik Trip's interest in the property has provided the perfect opportunity. Since Beer started looking at open lots in May, any progress has been on paper - and there's been no shortage of paperwork. Beer's wife, Tiffany, has been instrumental in keeping all that paperwork straight and making sure everyone involved gets what they need, when they need it.

"I've got to give her a lot of credit," Beer said.

Soon, their progress will take a visible form. Beer hopes construction of the new building will begin the first week of October, he said.

The biggest advantage to Wayne's new home will be space. At 60 feet by 80 feet, there will be room for a bigger office and waiting area for customers, as well as more space for Beer and his four technicians to work.

"Each tech will get their own stalls," Beer said.

Each technician works on a car through its whole repair, rather than having multiple people working on different stages. So having dedicated space for each worker is important. Another addition will keep Beer and his employees out of the weather when they need to do an estimate.

"We're going to have a drive-in estimating bay," he said. "I'm really looking forward to that."

The lot itself is big enough that, should the business expand in the future, there's enough room to add onto the building.

Beer is excited for the move, but he'll miss the garage where he got his start.

"I'm going to miss the old corner here," he said.

He's been there since 1986, working for the original Wayne. They were neighbors at one point, and Wayne offered him a job.

"I've been here ever since," Beer said.

Wayne's is a full-service body shop that specializes in collision repair. The work is mostly from insurance claims, and on vehicles no older than 10 years. Walk-ins are also welcome.

When Beer first got started in body work, he wanted to do custom painting, but once he got into collision repair, he was hooked.

It's rewarding, he said, "when you start with something that's all damaged and beat up and then you get to see it pretty and painted."

Eleven years ago he bought the business from Wayne's widow, but nothing really changed.

"I came back the next day, unlocked the door and kept going," he said.

Beer leases the building from Loren Swanson, owner of Hastings Radiator, which is also housed in the building. The two men have known each other for 25 years, and they've always been good about keeping each others' needs in mind.

"We've worked together to make it work," Beer said.

Even in selling the building, Swanson has kept Beer's best interests in mind. He made sure that Beer would have enough time to find and build a new place before having to vacate the existing garage, so Wayne's won't have to close for an extended period of time.

"It's working out well for everyone," Beer said of the sale.

Beer hopes his new building will be ready to move into in February. It will be located at 3170 Red Wing Blvd. (Highway 316), between Hastings Veterinary Clinic and Burger King.

"We're just excited to get a new building to serve our customers better," Beer said.