Patrice Banks ’02 is the proud owner of her own garage/salon.
Story by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer, Philly.com
At the moment, the only sound in Patrice Banks’ auto repair shop in Upper Darby is the click of her trademark strappy red heels across the floor. Soon, though, if her plan pans out, the place will resound with revving engines, lug-nut guns, and blow dryers, while in the air the scents of 10W-30 motor oil and fresh nail polish commingle.
Patrice Banks left a job at DuPont to take up the auto-repair trade. “I was tired of being an auto airhead and feeling taken advantage of,” she says.
Garages, almost always, are shrines to the Y chromosome. But Banks’ vision for the Girls Auto Clinic and So Clutch Beauty Bar is XX: car care for women, by women. Get a tune-up with a wash and a brow wax, a lube with a mani and a mimosa.
Banks, 35, already has hired four female mechanics. She took out a $550,000 bank loan. By October, she projects, the 46,000-square-foot former Speedway Auto Repair on West Chester Pike will be recast as a “clubhouse for women,” with purse hooks fashioned from wrenches, a license-plate chandelier, an old gas nozzle for a faucet, hair supplies in toolboxes, and a large mural of a garage door.