* This post was originally published in Marketplace.

Back in 2003, Erin Gomes responded to a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper ad for a receptionist job at an independent auto repair shop. Although she did not have any experience or much knowledge about the auto industry, she took the job and began learning about it.

“I was really good at it,” Gomes said.

After many years working with customers, a few promotions, including some time working at a BMW dealership, Gomes went back to the independent auto repair shop and managed it.

As her family was growing, Gomes and her husband explored the idea of opening their own auto shop. In January, the owners of the auto shop she managed offered to sell them the location.

“We signed everything, we became incorporated and in early February, we wanted to hit the ground running and just get going,” Gomes said.

Everything was set for them to open their doors on March 1 as Bavarium Autoworks.

“We knew COVID was there, but we did not know the extent of it,” Gomes said. “And two weeks later, I was watching on the news in the shop, the governor telling us that now there’s a shelter-in-place [order].”

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