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STURGIS | In the ten years since Derrick and Heidi Richter opened Richter's Tire & Exhaust at 701 Lazelle St., in Sturgis, the business has grown beyond just fixing and replacing tires and mufflers.

“We pretty much do everything,” said Derrick Richter.

But Derrick said his employees are having to often push vehicles in and out of the shop to work on them.

“We do more work outside than what we do inside half the time,” he said with a laugh.

Their business has grown to the point where they needed to find a bigger building elsewhere, or build on to what they have.

“We’ve expanded what we can do, but we’ve pretty much capped what we can do out of this building,” Richter said. “We’ve definitely outgrown our two bays that we’ve had for 10 years.”

So they decided to expand in their current location, with construction beginning last month on a 4,000 square-foot addition to the north of the existing building.

Contractor for the expansion is Iverson Construction of Sturgis. Richter hopes to move the service part of the business to the new building by the first of the year.

Then Phase Two of the project, remodeling the existing building, originally built in 1955, to become office, waiting room for customers and showroom space for aftermarket auto products. 

“We don’t have much of a place for people to sit and wait for their vehicles and it’s not a very comfy place to wait,” Richter said.

Richter is aiming for early March completion for the overall project. He also plans to hire an additional full-time auto technician and possibly another part-time tech for the expanded business.

“We just want to make it look better,” Richter said of the business. “It needs it.”

(Editor's note: the above story has been changed to correct the spelling of Heidi Richter.)

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