MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Jeremiah Novak is engrained in the Manitowoc community -- not just an Alderperson, but a second-generation family owner-operator of Novak's Service Center.
"We've been in the community since 1972," Novak said. "A small mom and pop shop. We've expanded over the last few years, but we still have the same mechanic's we've had since the nineties."
Novak's Service Center has remained open during the coronavirus outbreak as an essential business. They've been able to keep their payroll intact and retain all employees so far.
"We don't really look at it as a burden. We want to make sure that if you have to get to work, your car's fixed and it's safe to get you down the road where you got to go to," Novak said.
However, with staying open comes risk. They have to trust clients that they're coming in for essential repairs and not unnecessary wants during the pandemic. Novak said they've seen an uptick in appointments since people starting receiving their stimulus checks.
"We are essential; don't put us at risk," Novak said. "Just like we're going to try and not put you guys at risk."
"If one of our guys was sick, we would have to shut down," Novak said. "But so far, everybody's been healthy and we're staying safe."
Novak said mechanics are taking precautions while performing essential services, including sanitizing the cars before entering and when exiting vehicles.
Compelled to begin paying consistent business forward to the community, Novak and his wife had the idea to provide free oil changes to healthcare workers, totaling a value of $10,000 donated.
Novak prides himself on keeping his business engaged with local nonprofit efforts "because the community has taken care of us for 50 years."