Word of mouth is spreading.

Somewhere carved into the vast cornfields north of Ransom in the shadows of towering wind turbines, there is a used car lot in someone's front yard.

Sound a little crazy? Not to the Hladovcaks.

They are the proud owners of the family business called R&R Auto Sales at the corner of 19th and 27th roads, where people often speed down the highway and wonder what kind of strange people reside there.

"We know it's right in the middle of nowhere," Daniel Hladovcak said with a laugh. He's one of the family employees. "We know we have 20 used cars for sale sitting in our front yard. We know it's a little crazy. But we're regular guys."

They are regular guys with a passion for fixing old cars and reselling them.

Brothers John and Daniel, along with John's son Nick all work on the lot they call home. Their idea started with a few purchases eight years ago from a used car auction. Then the family's love for auto mechanics took control.

A garage was erected, a car lift obtained and a body shop added.

"It grew fast,"Daniel said. "Now we've had as many as 30 cars on the lot and sold half of them at tax time."

R&R specializes in buying affordable or economy cars from dealer auctions, then doing the necessary work to salvage them. Their prices range from $1,500 to $5,000. Ford Tauruses and Escorts are the most common models sold.

"We get a lot of customers buying cars for their kids or people who want a car to go from Point A to Point B," said Nick, as a family arrived from La Salle car shopping for their teenager. "We have developed an eye for the cars we like, and we really search for those diamonds in the rough."

Each family member has their own qualifications.

John works as an auto shop teacher at Streator Township High School and is an Institute of Automotive Service Excellence certified mechanic. Daniel went to auto body school and Nick is studying mechanics at Illinois Valley Community College.

John and Daniel incorporate their projects at STHS, where auto students stay sometimes until 8 p.m. observing John's or Daniel's work and give a helping hand when they can.

In real estate, location is important. Out in the middle of the cornfield, the Hladovcaks know location is not in their favor. They advertise online at Craig's List and depend on word of mouth for business.

"We take pride in our cars and do the best we can," Daniel said. "Our reputation is all we have being out here. Chances are you'd have to hear about us or look for us to find us."

Still, business is steady. The Hladovcaks know they are doing something right.

"The greatest satisfaction is seeing one of our cars driving around,"Nick said. "It's awesome because that's our work. It gives you a sense of pride."

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