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Barber's Shop Automotive Is Back, Rising From The Ashes At New Sacramento Location

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento auto shop is back in business after rising from the ashes of an arson fire that sparked last year.

Barber's Shop Automotive is planning to welcome back customers this weekend at a new midtown location—a grand re-opening celebration nearly a year in the making.

"We're just cleaning up, getting ready to have a big party here," said Suntino Soldano, manager at Barber's Shop Automotive.

Last October, an early morning fire swept through Barber's Shop Automotive on 18th Street, where they had been in business for 42 years.

"That building was an icon of midtown," Soldano said about the business.

The arson-sparked blaze started in an alley dumpster and spread to the building, destroying nearly everything inside. The fire even melted their iconic Alfa Romeo sign, a staple of the beloved local business.

"To see it go, it was heartbreaking," said Frank Fidler, one of the mechanics at Barber's Shop Automotive.

"[The sign] hung right in the doorway of our old shop," said Soldano, when remembering the damage. "I'm here to fix cars, not tell them their car burned up in a fire."

The fire was a big financial blow to the locally owned business.

"It was huge, and in the middle of the pandemic, it made things even worse. Literally, we went from having one of our best years in a long time to having nothing," Soldano said.

But now they're ready for customers to return.

In a new location at 16th and F street, Barber's Shop Automotive is ready to rise again. Their new location is another historic building that dates back to the 1920s and was once a blacksmith shop. Meanwhile, their old midtown location is now going to be the site of a seven-story apartment building.

"My heart is just happy to be back in business and working again," Soldano said.

The new location also includes plenty of classic car memorabilia, something the shop was famous for to begin with.

"We're keeping the same vibe going and I like that," said Fidler.

Fidler said he's ready to start up in a new space and close the door on a setback they hope never happens again.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're not going anywhere," said Soldano.

The celebration inside the new shop is this Sunday at noon.

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