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South Superior repair shop changes hands

Zak McClelland, who also owns Mrs. Mac’s Towing and Transport in Duluth, has taken ownership of Bob's South Tower Auto Repair and added 24/7 towing to the business.

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Former owner Bob Anderson, left, and new owner Zak McClelland stand outside Bob's South Tower Auto Repair in Superior's South End neighborhood on Friday, Dec. 2. McClelland is changing the name of the business to Superior Automotive and adding 24/7 towing services.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — A longtime South Superior business is under new ownership.

Bob’s South Tower Auto Repair at 6028 Tower Ave. has been purchased by Zak McClelland, who also owns Mrs. Mac’s Towing and Transport in Duluth. McClelland said they closed the deal on the site the day before Thanksgiving.

“We were looking for a shop. We’ve been looking for a while,” McClelland said. “We got a tip about Bob, got over, started talking to him … his business really aligned with ours. We’re really a community-based business, and we love giving back to the community, being involved in it and so did Bob. So it worked out perfectly for us.”

All but one of Bob’s employees stayed on at the five bay repair shop, which currently employs nine.

“We’re looking at hiring; we want at least two more mechanics,” McClelland said.

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The name of the business is changing to Superior Automotive and it now offers 24-hour towing services in addition to full service auto and truck repair. Other than that, McClelland said, clients shouldn’t notice a difference. They’ll see many of the same faces.

“Bob had a pretty good business plan that we’re keeping. He’s got great customer service, has great clientele and we’re going to keep the same thing,” McClelland said.

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Former owner Bob Anderson, left, waves goodbye next to new owner Zak McClelland outside Bob's South Tower Auto Repair on Friday, Dec. 2. The business changed hands the day before Thanksgiving. McClelland, who also owns Mrs. Mac's Towing and Transportation in Duluth, said the move to open a repair shop was a natural progression.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Future plans for the site include expanding to offer big truck and semi repair services in the tall building behind the main shop and remodeling the main building to give it a 1950s art deco gas station look.

Entrepreneurship runs in McClelland's blood. His grandparents started Mrs. Mac’s in the 1950s, then passed it to his father. McClelland stepped into ownership of the business in 2010.

“We’re actually the oldest towing company out of Duluth,” he said.

Bob Anderson, who opened Bob’s South Tower Auto Repair in 1993, may have sold the business, but he hasn’t gone far. On Friday, Dec. 2, he was busy restoring a tractor in the Bob’s South Tower Auto Sales building, right across the alleyway from the repair shop.

“I drove this tractor when I was in high school in the 60s,” said Anderson, who grew up in the town of Oakland. “I located it in a shed out in the country and I brought it in. I started on it in June, but it’s going to have a total restoration on it because it was so sentimental to me. I worked on it for 50 cents an hour back then.”

He’s got roughly 15 more lawn tractors waiting outside the building for repairs, a hobby that could keep him busy for years. A recliner that Anderson, 71, bought for his retirement sat in the shop space. He said he hasn’t sat in it yet.

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Anderson said he stopped by the auto repair shop at 4:30 a.m. that morning, washing the floors and making coffee. He and McClelland, who he called a “whippersnapper,” will continue to lean on each other.

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A sign on the Bob's South Tower Auto Repair building on Friday, Dec. 2. Owner Zak McClelland, who has renamed the business Superior Automotive, plans to remodel the exterior of the main building to give it a 1950s art deco gas station look.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“He’s a nice guy. He’s not going to boot me out and say ‘Get out of here — it’s my garage,’” Anderson said. “He’s going to need my help, and I’m going to need his. Just a nice kid.”

He said it’s been a relief to sell the business and move onto hobby tractor repair, but he loves it in South Superior.

“To me it’s warmer. I think the people are friendlier,” Anderson said. “Just kidding. I used to live in East End, and it was cold all the time. But no, I really love it out here.”

McClelland agreed.

“We’re actually extremely excited about this part of town. We’re looking forward to it. It’s a great community. We’re just excited; it’s awesome,” McClelland said.

Call 715-394-6693 or visit the Superior Automotive LLC or Superior Towing LLC Facebook pages for more information.

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Former owner Bob Anderson, left, wave goodbye next to new owner Zak McClelland outside Bob's South Tower Auto Repair on Friday, Dec. 2. The full service auto repair business, now named Superior Automotive, currently employs nine.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.