NPR: Phoenixville Native Learned to Fix Cars Because She Couldn’t Find a Female Mechanic

Image of Patrice Banks via Kimberly Paynter, WHYY.

Phoenixville native Patrice Banks, owner of the successful Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, didn’t always know her way around fixing a car, writes Terry Gross for National Public Radio.

Banks, while working as an engineer at DuPont, thought she would feel better if she could talk to a female mechanic. The problem was that she couldn’t find one. So she enrolled in night classes at a technical school, and was the only woman among mostly 19-year-old men.

Banks then left her six-figure job and worked for free in a few Philadelphia garages while finishing her training. She opened the Girls Auto Clinic two years ago, staffed it with female mechanics, and added an adjoining manicure-pedicure and blowout salon to make it more appealing for women.

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She was also determined to make customers feel comfortable in her shop.

“People are coming in, especially women, with their guard up,” she said. “In order to get them to trust you, you have to let that guard down. So No. 1 is just listening to them and respecting their opinion.”

Listen to Patrice Banks’s interview with National Public Radio by clicking here.

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