South County Section: Mike's Auto Body
As Block Island residents know very well, convenience is everything.
A collision with a deer is not exactly convenient. But Mike’s Auto Body, which specializes in mechanical work and collision repair, and has two locations, one in Narragansett, the other in North Kingstown, will make getting your auto repair a little easier.
Owner Mike Henry — who runs the family business along with his wife, Kim and son, also Mike — prides himself on the quality, hands-on, quick-turnaround work of his shop.
“We want it out as fast as they want it out, if possible,” says Mike.
But don’t be fooled: “fast” doesn’t mean shoddy. Every other week, Mike and his entire staff head off for training. “We all go to different classes,” he explains, “from collision to mechanical, it keeps us all updated.”
Also updated is Mike’s equipment: updated welders, computer-driven measuring systems directly linked to the auto manufacturers’ current data, advanced paint refinishing systems and more. Mike and his team are state-of-the-art mechanics.
The North Kingstown location focuses primarily on collision repair, while Narragansett does both collision and full mechanical work. Mike oversees work at both spots, and General Manager Mark Gardiner manages the North Kingstown location.
Mike, who was at the Narragansett location during our talk, can’t chat for long — he’s got six jobs waiting for him. At least one of them is a Block Island customer. The six jobs are in different stages, he says as he rattles off a list: front end replacement, some suspension work and two pick-up trucks getting bedside work.
What brings most Block Islanders to Mike’s shops? Deer, Mike says. And also brakes, he adds, because of the rust.
He notes that he’ll pick up and drop off customers from the ferry. He also says that, on rare occasions, he’ll go to the island to tow a car off — one of the few, if not the only, local garages to do so.
Most of his Block Island business comes from word of mouth. Mike also gets a lot of repeat customers.
It’s easy to see why, with a congenial staff, such as Lauren at the Narragansett front desk, whom Mike jokingly pokes fun at — his friendly, sarcastic sense of humor shining through.
When I ask him what he likes best about the job, he answers, “dealing with the insurance companies.” (Mike’s Auto Body processes all insurance claims for you.) At first, I thought he was kidding, but I’m not quite sure.
But then I get a second answer, “getting the car back to its original state, before the loss.”
All his jokes aside, Mike’s professionalism shines through. I ask him a question, one that requires a little “bragging,” if you will. Eventually, he passes the question off to Kim.
“I’m not one to sugar-coat things,” he says.
Well, knowing you’re getting a straight answer, that’s a good thing to hear from your mechanic.
In business for 33 years, Mike’s Auto Body is located at 30 Celestial Drive in Narragansett and 107 Tower Hill Road in North Kingstown. Telephone: (401) 782-1880 for Narragansett, (401) 294-4379 for North Kingstown.