Patrick Robinson
Dave Winters has been planning on moving Swedish Automotive for the past 10 years purely because their present location is too small. The new location, four blocks south on 35th S.W. is much larger, and built to be very 'green' with highly insulated roof panels and a policy to recycle everything possible. CLICK THE PHOTO TO SEE MORE IMAGES

Swedish Automotive prepares their new home

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The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in this otherwise sluggish economy as Swedish Automotive co-owners, and husband and wife, Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall, expand their business four blocks south, from 35th Avenue SW and Webster, to 35th and Kenyon. Their repair business, at its current location for 20 years, has just four bays and not a lot of extra space for the Volvos, Saabs, and Subarus awaiting repairs, plus his 13 loaners, and 11 employees.

MRJ Constructors, who built the Viking Bank, West Seattle Branch, the Eagle Harbor Inn on Bainbridge Island, and the University House senior living facility in Wallingford is building a new 6,000 square feet green building with 12 bays on a 19,500 square foot lot for Winters and Wanstall that was once a gas station. An existing two story structure on the lot will remain, to be used as their office and rental space. They purchased the lot Dec. 29, 2006.

They plan a grand opening the Tuesday after Labor Day, and want to find another business interested in leasing their current location, also a former gas station. It is 2,515 square feet.

"We're especially proud of the green features," said Winters, a Chief Sealth 1977 graduate. "We'll have PEX Tubing all through the floor to radiate heat, (achieved) by putting a boiler on the mezzanine above the two bathrooms, fired by waste oil to heat the hot water that goes through the floors. It's going to be hot, and wonderful. Some walls and the roof are built with structural insulated styrofoam paneling. The roof is planned with solar panels in mind, but first we have to sell our house on Vashon Island to pay for it. Initially this is more expensive, but it's the right thing to do. We produce hardly any garbage. Almost everything is recycled, including everything metal we take off cars.

And, getting back to the cars, Winters said, "I grew up with Volvos. My dad bought a brand new Volvo, a 1968, 140. He drove it 450,000 miles. I really like the 1998-2000 Volvo S70's and 850's, and the 1999-05 Saab 9-5's. That's what I drive, and mine has 148,000 miles.

"We might start working on Mini Coopers. I like them, and only want to work on cars I like," he said. "I wouldn't want to work on AMC Gremlins. I guess that dates me."

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