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Lou’s Total Car Care to move Fort Myers garage

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Lou Moralez and his staff of nine employees have been working from the same, cramped and overheated Fort Myers garage for 18 years. 

In April 2022, that will change. 

Lou’s Total Car Care will move from its current location at 5050 S. Cleveland Ave., about a quarter of a mile north to 4531 S. Cleveland Ave., just north of a RaceTrac gas station and north of Page Field. 

But beyond a local small business getting bigger, the move illustrates how banks are seeking service-related businesses for loans. 

With retail shopping trends shifting to online, service-related businesses are filling the void. 

“They felt very confident that I could continue to prosper in the new location,” Moralez said. “This has been a three-year process, the planning and the permitting and everything.” 

The land will be leased from the Lee County Port Authority. 

The construction costs will be about $5 million, Moralez said. 

Live Oak Bank, based in Wilmington, North Carolina, first approached Moralez about building the expanded garage. 

“I had known Lou and his desire to expand, and I knew he was the right fit for our organization,” said Tammy Teece, vice president of small business lending for Live Oak Bank. “We are dedicated to helping small businesses grow and thrive. Our small business owners are the heart and soul of this country, and their desire to grow is our top priority.” 

Lou’s Total Car Care will move from a garage with 5,000 square feet and six vehicle bays to one with 12,000 square feet and 18 vehicle bays. 

“One of the nicest features that we’re going to have here with our new facility, it’s going to be completely air conditioned for the technicians as well as for the customers who come and visit us,” said Moralez, 56 and originally from the Bronx, New York. “It’s going to be 16-feet tall, inside dimensions and 16-feet wide. We’ll be able to take care of any construction vehicle, big trailers, RVs, speedboats.” 

Moralez had worked on cars almost his entire life. At age 8, he started working in his father’s tire shop. 

Now, Moralez will have a new shop to call home. 

“Probably tears of joy,” Moralez said of his reaction upon relocating next year. 

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