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One year after devastating fire, Werkstatt 533 set to re-open

One year after devastating fire, Werkstatt 533 set to re-open

Imagine you received a phone call, around midnight, explaining your small business had gone up in flames. How would you feel?

What may seem like a nightmare for you was very much a shocking reality for European Auto Shop owner, Dave Colestock, approximately one year ago.

On April 19, 2017, Werkstatt 533 had caught fire in the middle of the night and burned almost the entire facility to the ground. All that remained were many questions, frustration and heartbreak. “You are watching everything you worked for burn to the ground — you want to stay, but you also want to leave because it is just so hard to watch,” says Dave.

Dave and his family never imagined they would experience a change in their lives of this magnitude. Dave explains, “You are going to experience unwanted obstacles in your life, but you are never finished, you just keep moving forward.” It is this kind of mentality that motivated Dave to create Werkstatt 533 in the first place — his determination and true passion for European cars.

It all started when Dave was just around eight years of age, he and his father dismantled their first car, to use the parts to build a street rod. “I was never allowed to break anything. I was told to ask questions and learn to remove parts piece by piece in order to learn how things go together and how they come apart,” explains Dave. The process was challenging, but Dave never lost the drive to learn more.

After growing up in St. Paul, Dave moved to Ames, Iowa to study architecture. During his time in college, he picked up a job at a European auto shop that lead him to discover all that European cars have to offer. The technology was cutting edge — they were always about 10 years ahead of domestic manufacturers.

“They were engaging — both mechanically and intellectually. It was an entirely different language that was sometimes challenging … but I grew to appreciate and understand the language, and every challenge was a learning experience.”

Dave received his architectural degree, but instead of pursuing a career as an architect, his love of European cars lead him to open his first auto shop in 1999.

After many successful years with that shop, in 2013, Dave was ready for a new challenge and decided to take his skillset closer to home, raise his family, and start anew — off to Rochester he went.

In January 2014, Dave custom created the workshop of his dreams and Werkstatt 533 officially opened in Rochester.

“The economy was good, the people were amazing, and within a couple of years, business really started to take off,” explains Dave. “Rochester’s economy was great and the people had high standards, which is a big reason why we decided to move here."

In April 2017, the tables turned, and what was becoming a thriving business, became a pile of ashes in a matter of hours. “It was three months before the thought of rebuilding would even become a reality,” said Dave. After the shock started to wear off, we knew it could be done, and we were ready to begin the rebuilding process.”

From ashes to concrete, Werkstatt 533 slowly reclaimed their spot back in the Cooke Park Design District.  

“From the very beginning, our family was given unconditional support from the Rochester community. From fundraising and donations, to hot dishes brought to our doorstep, I cannot put into words the amount of support we received during the rebuilding process. No matter the circumstances presented, our clients and the community stuck with us.”

The old saying “Minnesota Nice” truly shined in Rochester. After a year of re-building Werkstatt 533, Dave and his family are thrilled to re-open their doors and continue to provide services to European cars.

Join Dave and his family on Saturday, May 19, at their same location in the Design District at Cooke Park for the Grand Re-Opening event of Werkstatt 533. Enjoy food, drinks, treats and tours of the newly-rebuilt facility.

Learn more about Werkstatt 533 and the services they provide at For more information on the Grand Re-Opening event, visit

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