SLIPPERY ROCK – Greg Geibel decided to shift gears in marketing his Slippery Rock auto repair shop by creating a haunted house in part of his business.
“I initially thought of having just an outdoor display for Halloween to give out candy,’’ Geibel said. “One thing led to another, and what I came up with is a haunted house.’’
His Slippery Rock Towing & Repair shop is housed in a former car dealership built in the 1940s. Once a landscaper and gardener for a Butler family, he had to give up the job after severely injuring his shoulder in a motorcycle accident four years ago.
At the time he also was heavily into auto racing on the side. He typically drove in more than 30 sprint car races annually with the World of Outlaws racing circuit.
Looking for work, it was a natural for him to get into the auto repair business, and he opened his Slippery Rock shop three years ago.
Once he decided to create the scary house there was no looking back.
Geibel said he sunk more than $4,000 into the project, which continues to be updated daily.
“It was crazy,’’ said Cheyanne Eichenauer, Geibel’s girlfriend who helped to create the haunted house. “We worked 12 and 14 hours a day.’’
Friends and family members pitch in by playing ghoulish characters that guests meet on the tour.
Visitors taking the tour will see the creation is somewhat of an American home – but with eerie sights along the way.
A kitchen features a scary ambiance with bloody hands coming out of a toaster and battered fingers reaching outwards from a crock pot.
Another room near the kitchen has reminder notes for parents – but not the kind seen in a real home. A favorite note says, “Pick up Kids from the Morgue, 3 p.m.’’
There are animals involved with rats playing a role in the tour.
“But we make sure that can’t come into human contact,’’ Geibel said.
Blood-curdling sound effects include the loud thumping of a heartbeat and other squeamish noises. However, sights and sounds can vary from each visit.
Parts of the tour are pitch black, and some of the characters jump out to scare guests. There is an emergency door for those who are overwhelmed.
With the town being the home of Slippery Rock University, Geibel said he wanted to attract the college crowd. But he didn’t want to go too over the top, as he hopes younger kids and their families will be the core visitors.
“I want those kids to say to their mom and dad, ‘Take your car to get fixed at the place where they have a haunted house,’ ‘‘ he said.
If the idea is a hit, Giebel said he’ll do it again next year.
“There’s a loft in the building where we can add more things,’’ he said.
LOCATED at 127 North Main St., free hours for the haunted house are 7 to 10 p.m. today but will be closed until Wednesday. From Wednesday on, tours will be given from 7 to 10 p.m. daily until Oct. 31.