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2013-01-31

Had a crash, crunch, or smash? Bandera Auto Solutions offers expert collision repair

By Carolyn B. EdwardsBCC Staff Writer

When Frank and Menetta Lopez came back to the US from Japan, the high standards he had practiced there had become habit. "The quality level in Japan was so extremely high," said Frank.
Before long, he decided that one way to have a top quality repair shop with the high standards he was accustomed to was to open one of his own.
So, six years ago, the Lopezes moved to the Hill Country and opened Bandera Auto Solutions. The shop is conveniently located at 1310 Main Street in Bandera, just across the street from the Longhorn Saloon on the north end of town.
In Tokyo, Frank managed a major collision repair shop for Landrover, working with and training Japanese technicians. After creating an excellent, self-sustaining shop, he felt like there were no more challenges to face and was "ready to move back to the US."
He had met Menetta there and the family, including two sons, was also ready for a new experience.
Menetta, a native of the Philippines, fell in love with Bandera. "I felt at home here. The people are so friendly and the landscape reminds me of home."
When the Lopezes purchased the property here, the shop was basically a tire shop and propane bottle-filling service. They quickly expanded to offer truck accessories and minor mechanic services.
Today, Frank has almost doubled the size of the shop, adding a spacious work area and a paint booth in the back to offer the best in collision repair.
He is I-CAR certified in collision repairs and a GM certified mechanic with 35 years of experience. Both he and Menetta have been trained with Lesonal to provide a professional painted finish on the repaired vehicles. They use the best quality automotive paints, all accurately mixed by computer.
The Lopezes are assisted in the shop by "Dr." Chip Williams, mechanic. "I call him doctor," said Menetta, "because he doesn't just fix things. He diagnoses the problem, tries to find the cause, so it won't happen again."
The couple is excited to have just installed their new, brightly colored and lighted sign in front of their shop. That sign makes it clear that Bandera Auto Solutions now puts a priority on paint and body auto repair.
"We decided to expand into the body shop and collision repair," said Frank, "and that is what we do best." The expansion was a family decision, apparently. "Our family slogan for 2013 is 'Moving Forward,'" explained Frank.
Besides Frank and Menetta, the family includes sons Ben and Junior, both students at Bandera High School. The boys enjoy sports, especially soccer, and are in the band.
As part of their service, Bandera Auto Solutions "aims for a quick turn-around." They understand that customers need their cars, so they work with the insurance company, pre-order the necessary parts and even do pre-painting if possible. "That way the customer can use the vehicle until the day we need to do the actual work," said Menetta.
Customers can relax in the cheerful, meticulously clean waiting area, where there is always plenty of hot coffee and a couch comfortable enough for a nice nap.
While the shop has some renovation projects underway, they prefer taking restoration projects on for customers who are not in a rush.
The shop is a convenient place for your regular oil changes, AC recharge, tire rotations and re-balancing, as well as sales of new tire and Interstate batteries. They stock truck accessories from the top brands, including Ranch Hand, Frontier and Gage.
The Lopezes rates are competitive for the area. "We're not trying to get rich," said Menetta, "we just want to make a living!" Satisfied customers often refer their family and friends. "We have lots of word of mouth customers," said Frank.
And they make every effort to make sure the customer is happy. After all, Bandera is a small town, and, as Menetta said, "Reputation is everything!"
Bandera Auto Solutions is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm. The propane bottle filling service is also open on Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Please call first if you need an RV/motorhome fill-up to make sure Frank is available. The number is 830-796-7201.

Pictured:
Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
A newly lighted sign spreads the word about Bandera Auto Solutions collision repair services.

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Frank and Menetta Lopez offer a wide range of automotive services, including collision repair, at Bandera Auto Solutions.