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All-Female Auto Repair Shop Lets Clients Get Mani-Pedis While Waiting For Their Cars

Girls Auto Clinic (GAC) was founded in 2013 by Patrice Banks (Girls Auto Club Facebook)

A Pennsylvania entrepreneur left her 6-figure engineering job to volunteer at mechanic shops around her area to learn how to fix cars, and founded the Girls Auto Clinic when she was finished.

The GAC is the first of its kind in the nation, and offers car care memberships, car care education classes, and hands-on mechanic workshops for women looking to learn the skills for themselves.

Patrice Banks was working at DuPont, and decided to double her workload and enroll in a mechanic’s night school, where the 30-year-old was the only girl in a class full of 18 and 19-year-old boys.

“I was tired of feeling helpless and having to go talk to a guy,” she told the Int. Business Times. “I was afraid I was going to be taken advantage of.”

The fear is mutual Patrice, but unlike this reporter, she didn’t give up learning about how to build cars, and after accumulating enough experience she opened GAC in Upper Darby, PA, in 2013 with some pretty excellent business ideas based on a decade of dreading oil changes.

“Me and my girlfriend that I worked with at DuPont would go to this specific Jiffy Lube on our lunch break because there was a nail salon next to it. We’d drop our cars off and walk next door and get our nails done while we waited,” Banks explained, saying she and almost every other woman she knows, hates getting oil changes.

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She explains that, despite the complex mechanical engineering going on under the hood of cars, working as a mechanic is a lot of intuition based on touch, smell, hearing, and seeing.

Girls Auto Clinic Facebook

Her clients, who get access to free WiFi, snacks and beverages, hundreds of books, and the “Clutch Beauty Clinic” nail salon while they wait, are not only told about the state of their vehicle when the work is finished, but told about how Patrice came to that conclusion—what she was looking for, hearing for, and how she found or heard it.

This is breeding a community of “Shecanics” who are not only learning for themselves about the cars they rely on, but quite possibly changing the face of the industry.

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Maybe it’s this transparent communication, but the automotive repair sector was flooded with female workers during the pandemic, with nationwide numbers rising from 4,000 to 19,000 by the end of 2022.

Maybe it was because the government-enforced business closures and curfews kindled a desire for greater self-reliance, or maybe it was because of women like Patrice.

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