The owners of a Colfax automotive repair shop will go to great lengths to help people with car trouble, even if it is not the most lucrative business model.
“We do as much as we can even if it hurts us,” said Jacob Bunyard, who runs Bunyard Automotive with his wife, Lacie, on 216 S. Main St.
Doing as much as they can could mean raising donations and deducting labor costs so a customer can afford to get their car fixed. It could even mean donating car to a customer in need, which the business has done three times since it opened nearly a year ago. Bunyard said with the help of generous customers and community members, they have been able to give away cars to people in unique situations.
In one case, a single mother in Pullman had saved her money to buy a car, which she took to Bunyard Automotive to be inspected. There they found a defective steering rack and other problems that would have cost her more than the price she paid for the vehicle. It also made it dangerous to drive, Jacob Bunyard said.
“We were literally surprised she made it from Pullman to us,” he said.
When the woman found out the bad news, she stood in the Bunyard Automotive waiting room in tears, he said.
The Bunyards found out another customer was trying to sell a Ford Focus in good condition and was willing to give them a discount. With the help of monetary donations from other community members to help pay for the rest of the asking price, the Bunyards gave the woman her new car.
In another case, Family Promise of the Palouse informed them of single mother who had lived in a homeless shelter and was in need of a vehicle. Family Promise donated $400 to the cause, and the Bunyards provided her with a car of her own.
Even with community donations, it still costs Bunyard Automotive money and labor to offer this help to customers. The owners once sold the soda machine in their shop to cover a customer’s cost.
But Jacob Bunyard is not willing to stop. He said this altruistic attitude stems from how he was raised, and it was part of the goal all along when he decided to start his own business a year ago.
Jacob Bunyard was an automotive technician working for a dealership with dreams of owning his own shop when he discovered the vacant property on Main Street in Colfax. That is when Bunyard Automotive became a reality.
He knew that if he had his own business, its primary goal would be to help people. Jacob Bunyard said going to get a car fixed can be as unpleasant as going to the doctor or dentist. That is why he wants to build trust with customers and show that his business cares about them. In the future, he wants to create a program to help young people and single mothers learn basic car maintenance.
He also wants to be able to trust customers as well, which is why he will ask for referrals on people before doing charity-type work. From there, Bunyard said his shop will work hard to help those people out of a dark hole.
“It hits us pretty hard, but I really like doing it,” he said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.