Fire-ravaged muffler shop opening at new location

Staff report


A Warren-based muffler and auto-repair shop, damaged by a fire more than five months ago, is set to reopen Monday with a new building and name.

Known for 40 years as Lifetime Muffler, the business is moving 5 miles away to 4375 Youngstown Road under the name Rick’s Lifetime Muffler and Auto Repair.

The shop’s location at 2643 W. Market St. was closed in January after a fire left the building unusable. The fire also destroyed two vehicles.

Hazel Khlem, co-owner of the business, said the fire started when the furnace blew sparks from a nearby worker who was welding.

The Warren Fire Department estimated $500,000 in damage resulting from the fire.

Khlem said the costs of rebuilding at the original location were too great.

The shop will continue to offer all of its services at the new facility, including exhaust repairs, transmission replacement and brake work.

The shop’s sales took a hit from being closed for five months.

“At least $180,000 to $200,000 in lost sales,” Khlem said. “We have made it the last few months thanks to our insurance company.”

Khlem said the shop’s only employee, who found new work after the accident, will return when it reopens.

“It’s exciting and scary to reopen, but we hope customers will follow us to our new location,” she said. “We moved and changed our name, but we still have the same phone number from 40 years ago.”

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