By: Luke Shaff ~
50 YEARS........50 years of my life has been spent in public service. I started working with and on vehicles in my early teens (actually earlier than that, shagging wrenches and holding the light for my stepdad). I was only going to do that until i figured out what i wanted to do in life.
I graduated from high school in Wasilla Alaska and decided to join the Navy to get away from the drug problems of the 70's. WOW, was that an eye opener. The problem was much worse there.
Well, so much for a military career. What do I do.........I know, I'll work on cars till i can find a steady job and a better occupation. Spent many years working for service stations and such but wasn't really learning anything to do with a different career. I even tried working for a dealership, nope not for me. If you know me, you know I don't do office politics.
So, I decided to try independent automotive repair shops. Bingo, I found a fit, finally. Ok, this is going to work. Spent the next 20 years working for and with some great guys. I learned a great deal from all of them, including the owners. Enough that I thought I'd like to give it a try. Well one day one of those owners came to me and asked how I'd like to own the place.
Fifteen days later, Jan and I became the owners of the business. It was rushed and without much thought put into it, but we did it anyway. Barely any money in the bank, my 20-year-old daughter answering the phones and me doing all the rest. Jan was (and still is) very busy with her job. I did get smart and hired a very smart young man by the name of Shane to help me get things rolling. (God sent).
So here we are, 15 years later, I'm 65 years old and have had all the fun one can have. I've had a good deal of great customers, and a TON of vehicles to work on over all these years. I am now working on the grandchildren's cars from some of my original customers from the old Eastgate Union 76 days.
Now comes the hardest part, as some of you may know I have stepped away from the front desk and have hired a managing service to take over for now. It is time for me to step aside and take care of my health. This is without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done. I know not what the future holds but it is something that needs to be done. I will still be here, but more and more in the background. I am very thankful to everyone that has been with me on this ride, from customers, suppliers, employees and friends. THANK YOU for everything just doesn't seem to say how truly grateful I am to All of you.
And to the best partner and Wife any man could ever want, Without you my love, the last 40 years would have never happened!!