My name is Roger and I have to admit – cars have always been in my blood. One of the first things I remember about cars was sitting in my dad’s racecar as a very young kid. It was an old home built coupe that he raced on a quarter mile dirt track. My childhood was filled with cars in and out of our home garage or my grandfather’s garage. And then of course there was racing that we watched every Saturday night in the summer.
Fast forward to age 15. At the dinner table one night my dad says (out of the blue) “How would you like to buy your first car?” Um, what kid in his right mind would say no?! The 1973 VW Superbeetle was not a pretty sight when we purchased it. It was dirty orange and well broke in. Or maybe just broke. The semi-automatic transmission was not functioning properly, and the whole car needed a lot of work!
Over the course of the next year my dad and I worked on my little Superbeetle to bring it back to life. We put a manual transmission in it, did the rust repair, bodywork and paint that was needed and re-upholstered the interior. Insert some aluminum mag wheels that my uncle gave me – and you have a really cool looking car. That is when my passion for cars was really ignited.
About the same time I signed up for an auto repair course in school, but before the school year began they pulled the program, so I took woodworking instead. While still in school I found a part time job working with wood at a local millwork shop. I never lost my desire to work on cars (I did it on the side) but my job at the millwork shop was successful. After I graduated high school I was offered a full time position. Then life happened. Marriage, house, family – all of the best things in life, and the “car” thing was pushed off to the side. Shortly after getting married, the millwork business was offered “for sale” and my brother-in-law and I were blessed with the business. For the next 20 years Vermont Hardwoods became my second home and it grew into a very well established hardwood millwork facility.
While the business was growing, so was our young family. Ruthanne & I were married in 1987 and soon after, we had our first child, Daniel. After that came Christopher, Michael, Jenni, and Kelly. We had a small farm where we raised sheep and goats, as well as chickens, pigs and a variety of other animals. It was the most awesome time of our lives. We were very busy with kids, animals, church, business, family and friends.
Kids somehow grow up, and when my oldest son turned 15, his dad (me) started looking around for a car to fix up. We ended up purchasing a 1985 BMW 325es for $200.00. It was a repeat of my childhood days, except this time I was the dad, and I was working with my son. The BMW got a total makeover, including bodywork and paint, and it became Daniels first car! And that is when my passion for cars was rejuvenated.
I began thinking about leaving the safety of Vermont Hardwoods and purchasing an auto repair or auto body business and following my passion for vehicles. It was a process that would take several years. Then in 2009 I came across an auto body shop that was for sale. I was familiar with the business (I had an 85 Chevy pickup repainted there) and so inquired about it. We struck a deal that seemed to work for both parties, and a closing date was set for late February, 2010.
In the meantime in order to make it happen I needed to sell out my half of Vermont Hardwoods to my partner. The last day of December 2009 was my final day as one of the owners of Vermont Hardwoods. I was looking forward to closing on the new business and getting started.
Then the apple cart got upset. Some things were not lining up and were not working out. Less than a month before the closing date, the deal fell through and I was left jobless and without a business. I had never been without a job since I was 13 years old! It was an unsettling feeling for sure!
I was really looking for something where I could combine my passion to serve people and my passion for cars. After looking around for a job and considering many options, my wife (Ruthanne) and I decided to finish off our garage, originally built as a home workshop, and start Route 103 Auto. In June of 2010 we opened the doors to our first customers, and so it began. Initially it was just me (Roger) who did all the estimating and made all of the repairs & maintenance, etc. I also took care of ordering the parts and keeping the books. With Ruthanne’s help we started some local marketing, and built our own Website. Business began to increase and we needed some help. Ruthanne covered in the office as a service advisor for quite a while, and in December of 2012 we hired Jenni (our daughter) to learn the ropes of estimating and taking great care of customers. In June of 2013, we hired Jared, a seasoned technician – He was with us until mid-spring of 2016 when he moved up north to be closer to his daughter. In January of 2016, we welcomed another technician, Kenton, to our team.
Together as a team, it is our goal to knock your socks off with over the top customer service and value that is second to none. Give us a try and you will see the difference! We love our customers!
Meet the Team!
Roger Batchelder: Owner & Operator, and Technician!
Ruthanne Batchelder: Owner & Operator
Jenni Bixby: Service Manager
Kenton Jenkins: Automotive Repair Professional
Damien Adams: Automotive Repair Professional