Hartland Service revved up for growth 
Servicing muscle cars, offering emissions testing has fueled expansion

By KATHERINE MICHALETS - Freeman Staff

April 9, 2016

       

Mike Kusch, right, looks at classic cars receiving service at Hartland Service on Wednesday. The shop is expanding to better serve both modern and classic car owners.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

HARTLAND — When vehicle emissions testing became privatized more than three years ago, Hartland Service owners Mike and Debbie Kusch embraced the opportunity and hired trained professionals to handle the testing and work with potential long-term clients. By offering emissions testing at Hartland Service, as well as specialized services such as detailing and muscle car repairs, the 24-year-old business has seen significant growth in customer numbers and now in building size.

Hartland Service is adding about 7,500 square feet to its 10,000-square-foot building. It will go from 13 service bays to 20 bays. An existing building that has been the location for auto detailing will be transformed into a two-lane car wash, with the touch-free car wash lane being eight feet to allow for work vans and other larger vehicles. On the exterior of the car wash, there will be vacuums that can be used for free, 24/7.

Since opening Hartland Service on April 1, 1992, Mike Kusch said his business has grown substantially and has already undergone one expansion in 1997 that included six new bays.

Kusch said he has always been interested in classic cars and working on them personally.

“You want to walk into a shop that looks like it knows how to take care of it,” Kusch said about classic car owners.

The newly expanded space will include a room specifically for bringing in collector cars for service and repair. The room will be used for discussing and inspecting the car while protecting it — and the owners — from the weather. There will also be a work area specifically for classic car repairs, as well as storage for their parts. Because it takes more time to order classic car parts, those vehicles can sit for a longer time at Hartland Service, so Mike Kusch said he wanted to create an area designated for them so they are protected and their parts organized.

Keith Woolever, owner of Wooly’s Hot Rods in Johnson Creek, has been hired to work at Hartland Service.

Debbie Kusch said last summer their lot was full of classic cars waiting to be serviced.

      

A rendering of Hartland Service’s facility when its expansion is complete.
Submitted rendering

K4 Specialty Vehicles

The detailing and classic car shop will have a separate name from the rest of the business and will be called K4 Specialty Vehicles, as in K to the fourth power, to represent the four generations of the Kusch family who have been in the automotive repair business, including Mike’s and Debbie’s son, Jeff; and Mike’s brother, Mark.

Hartland Service employs 12 full-time and three part-time employees, and expects to add a few more in the coming years.

Mike Kusch refers to emission testing as his business’s “secret weapon.” He said it gives Hartland Service the opportunity to spend five minutes meeting and greeting the vehicle owners with the hope that they will be impressed and become regular customers.

“We’ve made literally hundreds of customers in the last three-and-a-half years,” he said. “I’m still pinching myself.”

With the growing focus on classic cars, Hartland Service will hold car cruise nights this summer and other related events.

In the future, a hybrid vehicle charge station will likely be added to the property. Hartland Service already employed a trained hybrid technician.

“If you look at electric car technology, they are becoming more and more common,” Kusch said.

He hopes the visibility of the charging station will be publicity for Hartland Service’s ability to service those vehicles.

In recent years, Mike and Debbie Kusch have purchased land surrounding Hartland Service for a total two-and-half acres, so there’s even more room for growth.

www.hartlandservice.com

Email:
kmichalets@conleynet.com