There's a new automotive repair shop on Detroit's east riverfront. Chris Lee opened the Straits Garage
, located at 217 Joseph Campau St. The garage, in a historic warehouse built in 1880, offers a range of services, from simple oil changes to drivetrain and transmission work.
Though Lee didn't originally plan on locating his garage in Rivertown, he's glad he did. The shop has been busy since opening in late January, revealing an obvious need for the surrounding area. The building's proximity to downtown and a provided shuttle allows commuters to drop off their cars before work and pick them up on the way home.
A photography instructor at Oakland University, Lee has been working on cars since he was a teenager. The idea for a garage hit him about a year or two ago, he says. The Detroit native started to notice that the new residents of downtown and Midtown didn't know where to take their cars in for repairs. Realizing that there just weren't that many options in those immediate neighborhoods, Lee became certified as a mechanic and began the search for his own garage. He was stymied, however, by the landlords in downtown and Midtown.
"I spent the last year trying to find a good space in those neighborhoods," says Lee. "A lot of landlords in Midtown don't want an un-hip mechanic shop. They're looking for bars, cafes."
Lee stumbled on a building in Rivertown that had been a repair shop for decades previous, making for an easy move-in. He was excited, too, by the building's history and character--not to mention it being just blocks from the riverfront. The building offers Lee the ability to expand operations, should he need it.
Source: Chris Lee, owner of the Straits Garage
Writer: MJ Galbraith
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