Salvage yard revs to new start; Rochester family turns Carney into Star City Auto
Published 10:22 am Monday, November 16, 2015
A local business that has been in Austin almost 60 years recently changed hands, and the new owners are revving the engines to get to know the community.
Carney Auto, located on Highway 218 a few miles north of Austin, was bought by David Watson and his family’s business Watson Recycling on Sept. 11. Watson renamed the business Star City Auto, and while renovations were recently finished the business never closed.
“We wanted to expand into the salvage part business,” Watson said of the family company. “It was an excellent tie into our company right now.”
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Star City Auto will do the same business that Carney Auto did — salvage usable vehicle parts and sell them back to the community. Watson, who moved to Austin to run the business, said they will also help car owners fix their vehicles if they ask. The four staff members — Lowell Evans, Matt Hennager, Daniel Garnatz and Matt Price — include a mechanic, front desk staff, a driver and a parts-inventory person.
These four stayed on when the new management took over. Watson noted each staff member has many years of experience.
“That takes significance to me that they’ve been here a long time, they really know their stuff and they’re quality people,” Watson said.
Watson Recycling is a scrap metal recycling business currently in Rochester. Watson explained with scrap metal comes many old cars that still have usable parts.
The previous owners of Carney Auto were looking to sell, according to Watson, who hopes to make the change be for the better.
“This place has been here for over 50 years, almost 60 years, so everybody in the community knows the history behind this place. …” Watson said. “Our vision is to get this back to quality. The quality is what we’re really after, and the integrity and honesty of the people.”
Star City Auto General Manager Jim Royston was also excited to start working with the business. With about 24 years of experience on the sale end, working with parts is a new challenge for him to take on. He started talking about getting involved about a year ago.
“One thing led to another and here we are,” he said.
Royston, who lives in LeRoy, was Watson’s high school basketball coach and the two have been good friends ever since. The two have been learning a lot since they started working at Star City Auto, such as different insurance options and finding things at auctions. Royston said people can either bring their old vehicles in or the staff can go and get them. He hopes the community will be able to trust the quality of the business with the new owners.
“I would be hoping just to get the word out that there is a change here, and it’s a change for the positive,” he said. “If you have a vehicle that you are done with we will gladly take it off your hands, and we have parts that we stand behind.”
“When somebody needs something, they think Star City,” he added. “And they know that the people here are going to stand behind what they get.”
Watson said the business has already started getting involved in the community, donating free parts to the Austin High School for their needs and classes.
“We really want to be a part of the local community and be here for everybody,” he said.