BRISTOL – A husband and wife duo looking to expand their business into an auto repair and service facility at 1114 Farmington Ave. gained approval during a Bristol Zoning Commission public hearing Tuesday.
The business was approved by the commission.
J’s Auto Sales and Repair is a New Britain business owned by Minerva Cardona and Jesus Ruiz, both Bristol residents.
“The building was built in 1984 and has been a general repair as a Meineke for years and years,” said Chris Russo, the duo’s attorney. “Unfortunately, when my client went to get approval for her own general repair’s license, it appears that even though this building received all the signoffs required for a building permit and received a building permit, a special permit was never formally obtained for this site and use (as an auto repair facility).”
Russo said despite the building having been used as an auto repair shop for decades, Cardona and Ruiz wanted to make sure they were following all appropriate procedures. They had received the certificate for approval for the permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals already. They came before the Zoning Commission for official approval.
“This is (Jesus’) baby. I’m just the supportive backbone for him. He’s been in the automotive industry as far back as he can remember,” Cardona said. “Three to four years ago, he came to me with his wild idea of starting a business of his own. At the time, I was running a financial institution and we were both making great pay and active in the communities we were working in. I decided to jump with him.”
She said the journey had been great and they had received a lot of support.
“Even during the covid pandemic when a lot of businesses were shutting down, we thrived,” she said. “I’m sorry for the businesses that kind of fell, but it was great for us and we had a lot of community support. It’s nice because we never advertise. It’s all word of mouth. We don’t even use social media as much.”
She said it’s nice neighbors up the street would use their auto shop services and then refer the business to three other people.
“That’s what’s been working for us. So with that, we decided to give back to the community,” Cardona said.
She said Ruiz would bring in students from E.C. Goodwin Technical High School and work with them in the shop as a learning experience. She said the shop had also collected backpacks to give to New Britain students. They would like to continue doing such activities with another business in Bristol as they live there.