I posted a couple weeks ago about life changing. Since then I've realized that my small town has gown through a few changes in the past six months. As anyone who's lived in a small town knows, family owned and operated businesses are special. Well three of my little town's businesses are changing. The first occurred in Feburary when the local used car salesman (also owned rental housing and the town's towtruck operation) passed away of a heart attack. My dad bought cars there from 1990 to 1996(Dad died in 1997, I'm still driving the last car). My sister-in-law had just purchased a van from him just days before he passed away----my mother joked with her that she caused the heart attack when she gave the man $1100 cash to finish paying for the van. The man's wife is now running the business from what I understand.
The next change hasn't really taken effect yet. I noticed a few weeks ago that the local convience store is up for sale. Tom has owned it all my life. It started as only a gas station/garage combination back when they actually had someone fill the tank for you and clean the windshield. It's going to strange to have it owned by someone else....makes me wonder what changes will be made with a new owner.
Now to really the whole reason I picked this topic to blog about.....the local tire store/garage has made a huge change. Dad had gotten tires, oil changes and just about any regular car maintenence taken car of at this shop which is conveniently located just a couple blocks down the street. I've never had a real complaint there...just a couple minor disagreement with new mechanics that didn't know me or my car. The garage has been around as long as can I can remember and the man who started the business has since retired and has passed it down to his son "D". It's grown a lot...they added three or four bays on to the garage. Also bought some land across the highway to build "X's Car Care" where they do oil changes etc. A few years ago, they built another garage across the Ohio River in Kentucky just ten or so miles away.
Well, Wednesday I went down to the closest garage (where I normally go to) to schedule an appointment to get my carburator replaced/ or rebuilt. I walked in expecting to see Roger or Robbie who are the main mechanics. Instead, I find a few younger guys none of whom I recognize....then I notice a new paper sign hanging up saying "Please make checks payable to "XXX Auto". I'm taken aback thinking some big chain I've never heard of has taken over the family business that I've used so much that they feel like MY family. Then I see "E" the owner's daughter....and breathe a sigh of relief. If the family place had been sold, I reason, she wouldn't still be there would she? So I make an appointment.
At work Wednesday, I discover that "D" and his wife have divorced. "D" got the shop in KY and his ex-wife now owns the shop in IN. I guess she was pretty much managing it since the KY shop was built because she was always around and he wasn't. The new name is their 20-something year old kids' initials. That made me feel better about taking my car there since it's still in the family, but these people don't know my car like Roger and Robbie do. I just feel....weird...you already know I don't like change! It just seems strange that the ex-wife get the main garage that was built by his dad...To top it off the son and eldest daughter (don't know about the younger daughter) work for her at the IN shop. I feel like I'm picking sides. I'm taking the car in to the "XXX auto" tomorrow to have the carburator rebuilt. I figure if nothing else, this should make the business even better because if customers aren't happy at "XXX Auto", they'll go to the dad's shop only 10 miles away.