In December of 1949, when I was eight years old, we moved to a house in Warson Woods MO, a suburb of St. Louis. A few months later, in early 1950, my dad began buying gas and having his car serviced at Leach Service, a Standard station that Tom Leach had started in 1949. My dad continued taking his cars to Leach all of his life. As I got older and had my own cars, I also took them to Leach. In 1978, Tom retired and sold the station to his son Bob, who had been working there since he was a teenager. I was still taking my cars to Leach when Bob died in 2002. His wife Judy and daughter Kelly continued to run the business. Since my kids have grown up and have also become car owners, they have also been taking their cars to Leach. Three generations of Lodges taking their cars to three generations of Leaches for 63 years.
The main photo on their home page changes every few seconds. If you watch for a minute or so, you will see me in my Model T at one of the gas pumps.
This was the article in our local weekly.
We have a garage and former service station in St. Paul - Novick's - that just closed a few weeks ago after being in business since 1928. (They quit selling gas in 1991).
Three generations of the same family have owned/operated it.
It always catches my eye when I drive by.
Many early service stations and garages in the Twin Cities have been repurposed but that will not happen in this case. It's a prime piece of real estate on a major street so the garage will probably be torn down.
You should have bought into the company Dick. Leach & Lodge has a nice ring to it !!
Might have worked, but I lacked Bob's skill. I used to joke that I looked forward to having a car problem so Bob and I could reminisce while the mechanics were fixing my car.
I don't think that Bob went past high school, but he knew more about managing people than most MBAs. I remember once that he had been getting complaints about how the evening shift was being rude to customers (after Bob had left for the day). He called them all together and told them about the complaints, but instead of chewing them out, he told all the guys on the night shift to take their wife, girlfriend or significant other to dinner at Outback Steakhouse. He told them, "I want you to pay close attention to how everybody on the staff at Outback treats customers, and that's how I want you to treat our customers. When you've done that, bring me a copy of your receipt and I'll pay for your dinner."
Bingo! No more complaints...
Booklearnin' or not, it sounds like Bob was a smart guy.
You got it, Mike. For the price of a handful of meals, Bob solved a serious customer service problem.
I remember once downloading his station's logo and dummying up a coupon entitling me to a $100 discount on some work that was being done on my car. I showed it to Bob, and he turned to one of his mechanics and said, "You know what this is? It's the sign of a guy with a computer and too much time on his hands..."
I always maintained, by the way, that Bob could be sitting at his desk upstairs and would know if a mechanic dropped a wrench in one of the downstairs service bays.
We all wish we could find mechanics that do a good job and care about their customers.
Shortly after we moved to NH we had a problem with our Buick Riveria. The 3.8 V6's were notorious for poor oil pumps and ours failed requiring a new motor. I really can't complain because we had over 100K on it
One of the guys at work suggested that I talk with Jim Price who had repair shop on a back road in Newmarket NH. Jim looked at the car, said that it was in good condition, and recommended that we replace the motor. His logic was that it would cost a lot less to repair this car than get another and I would know what I had.
He changed the motor - stood behind his work in-spite of a few problems and he is now our primary automotive repair man
He always asks about my wife, kids and granddaughters by name! He understands how we drive and our needs Sometimes I have to beg him to do work on the car - not that he is unwilling - he tells us that we can delay some repairs. When he says that something needs to be done I believe him
It is called trust.
Right, Fred. Now, at the age of 71, after taking my cars to Leach all my adult life, I have to find a new place to take them.....
I have a friend and business associate who trains salesmen. He says the service writers at local Toyota dealers make up to $150K per year, selling services that aren't needed.