Ready to bounce back

Determined to overcome a Nov. 20 fire that destroyed their downtown business, Rieck brothers pledge to reopen

VILLAGE PRESIDENT Jim Brunnquell (left) presented the Rieck brothers — Robert and Richard (right) — with the Outstanding Citizens Award during a ceremony at Atlas BBQ on Sunday, Nov. 24. The Riecks were chosen for the award before their auto body shop was gutted by fire Nov. 20. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Just days after a fire destroyed Richard and Robert Rieck’s business, the twin brothers were honored Sunday, Nov. 24, as Outstanding Citizens by the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce before the annual community tree-lighting ceremony.

“It was a really nice way to end a bad week. We had a lot of family and friends there,” Richard said. “It was very emotional.”

The Riecks’ downtown business, Heinz & Sons 57 Auto Body, caught on fire early Wednesday, Nov. 20.

A state fire inspector is investigating the cause. Richard said it may have been an electrical fire that started between the exhaust systems. Grafton Fire Chief Bill Rice said the fire didn’t appear to be suspicious. 

“We’re hanging in there. We’re working with the insurance company right now,” Richard said, noting that the amount of damage hasn’t been determined.

The Riecks are working to restore the building, which was built in 1868.

“I imagine it’s going to take a few weeks or a month before we know what’s going to happen,” Richard said.

The auto body shop is currently closed,  and the brothers are notifying customers about delays for repairs, which were scheduled for the next two months.

“We have an area in the back of the shop we’ve been working out of for 25 years. We don’t know if we will be able to keep doing that,” Richard said. “It might take longer, but we can slowly take these people in.”

There were three vehicles inside the building when the fire occurred. Richard said he thinks they were protected from the fire damage.

“We don’t believe they were ruined. There was a ton of water damage, but the cars were covered in plastic,” he said.

“Once we get them outside, we’ll know what’s going on with them.”

The auto body shop, which has been in business for 56 years in downtown Grafton, was founded by the brothers’ late father Heinz Rieck. The brothers began working in the shop when they were 13 and took over the family business 32 years ago.

They recently told Ozaukee Press that they were planning to sell the building and business by next spring. 

The company was also recognized by the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce in 2005 with its Business of the Year Award.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login