By Elizabeth Perry
A good mechanic is hard to find.
When Greg Wolbert, 65, sold Wolbert’s Autobody & Repair shop in Crafton and reopened at a new location barely a block away from the old as Wolbert’s Auto Repair, customer Bob Karl of Crafton worried Wolbert would retire.
When the new shop at 10 Crafton Ave. – the former Knights of Columbus site – suffered a fire caused by a blowtorch used to attach the rubber roof, Karl was even more worried about the community staple.
“My biggest fear was when the other place got bought, was that he’d retire, what am I gonna do?” Karl said. Wolbert’s Auto Body had been open for 49 years, and Karl had been bringing his vehicles to Wolbert for 30 of them.
Luckily for Karl, and the many customers who sent cards and good wishes, Wolbert rebuilt and just celebrated a one-year anniversary on Nov. 1.
“It’s a little bit heartwarming to have customers like that. I guess we’re a little more in the community than just a business,” Wolbert said.
Karl said he should’ve known Wolbert wouldn’t “let moss grow beneath his feet.” He’s always working.
Niece Emily Lovic works for Wolbert and said he is there seven days a week.
“I’ve never honestly seen anybody work or move like him–he’s so fast!” Lovic said.
Before they sold, it was quite a large family-oriented business. The three brothers, Greg, Don Sr. aged 70 and Bobby, 74, owned the shop. Don Sr. has since retired and now his son Don Jr., runs Gerber Collision and Glass on Crafton Avenue. Bobby works at Gerber a few days a week.
“His wife works in the front end, Bobby’s daughter Jess works in the front,” Lovic said. “We’re real small here.”
Though the business is smaller, Wolbert continues to support the variety of charities he did when they were at the bigger location. They support the Westwood Oakwood Association which helps kids play baseball and St. Phillips Church. Lovic said if any charity comes into the shop, he tries to give them at least something. Because of that generosity, Wolbert has become a fixture in the community.
“Even people who don’t necessarily use him know who he is,” Karl said.