The Pit Stop offers full service for automobiles providing radiator repair, gas tank repair, air conditioning lines and hoses, and truck equipment construction, industrial, and agricultural oil changes and pretty much anything a car or truck needs besides an alignment said owner Jim Skelton. Those taking their car in for service will likely be greeted by his canine mascots Saint Bernard’s Lucy and Molly. Lucy is the larger and older of the two. Molly is a bit more skittish and smaller.
Jim and William Bettis work hand in hand at the former Pawnee IGA building and together they have garnered a loyal customer base. Customers like the fact that Jim tells it like it is and can expect honesty where their vehicles are concerned. “I have loyal customers here in Pawnee,” Jim said.
Customers come from all over central Illinois though he added. “I have customers from Virden, Girard, Springfield, Taylorville, Edinburg, Spaulding, and Loami, and then the regular customer base from the Pawnee, Divernon and Kincaid area.”
Advertising has never been an issue. Jim said his customers have learned about the Pit Stop through word of mouth. He also gets customers from the Truck Stop when they have trouble on Highway 104. “Some of my customers are sent to me from the Truck Stop,” Jim explained.
When asked how he got into the automotive business Jim said he originally opened the Pit Stop in March of 2010 in a building along Highway 104. “I had been doing landscape work, then had two hip replacement surgeries and Don Kern said, ‘why don’t you open a business’,” Jim said.
He was in business with Don then purchased the business solely in January of 2011. With his business expanding when the former Pawnee IGA building came up for sale, Jim bought the building and revamped it about five years ago. Friends helped him strip it and in a quick turn around time they filled six dumpsters and completely remade the building into the prefect automotive building. “No one thought it would be tall enough,” Jim said. “I went in with a tape measure and measured. It was perfect.”
With repurposing all the rage these days, Jim was just ahead of the curve! Space in Pawnee is at a premium and he found just the right place for what he needed. The Pit Stop is located at 618 5th St, Pawnee, IL 62558.
Jim learned how to work on vehicles growing up on the farm. “I was born and raised on a farm in the North East corner of Macoupin County,” Jim said. “Then in 1971 we moved when we bought a farm on Thomasville Road and that’s where I spent the rest of my growing up time.”
Jim said that on the farm he learned along with his brother how to work on farm machinery and semi’s. “We learned it at home. Dad didn’t like to take anything to town. Dad learned a lot in the, Service and he intended that we’d learn it too.”
Growing up on the farm instilled Jim’s love of gardening which he continues today. He grows his own vegetables and cans. The adage you can take the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy seems to hold true in Jim’s case.
While at the Pit Stop they work on most everything to do with an engine, except Jim said they stay clear of most diesel work because it takes special tools.
At the Pit Stop customers can also hire U-Haul Services as well as bring their scrap metal. To reach the Pit Stop, call 217-625-2410. You can find Pit Stop on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Pit-Stop-1777361425836198/. Hours are from 7:30 to 4:30.