After 50 years of family ownership, 18 of which under the All Seasons Automotive name, the highly regarded auto repair shop and gas station in the heart of Jefferson is closing its doors.
On Friday, July 2, the bays will be empty, the doors will be locked, and the community of Jefferson will be deprived of the gas station and repair shop that have served it for more than half a century. The single fuel pump is already dormant.
On July 1, 1971, Keith Jewett purchased an auto repair shop established at 207 Waldoboro Road. He renamed it and owned Jewett’s Garage for the next 31 years.
Jewett’s son-in-law Greg Reynolds started working on cars at the Hillside Collision Center in Waldoboro when he was in his twenties. He was a natural person who said he really enjoys the job.
It wasn’t long before he had his own single bay auto repair business called All Seasons Automotive in Waldoboro. But the lure of a larger four-bay store convinced him to buy out his stepfather in 2003. He renamed the store and has owned All Seasons Automotive in Jefferson for the past 18 years.
Steven Reynolds is the third generation to run the store. He took over day-to-day operations about a year ago when his father stopped being actively involved in the business due to hereditary back issues that made overhead difficult. While his father still owns the business, Steven Reynolds has run it ever since as one man.
According to Greg and Steven Reynolds, during its heyday, All Seasons Automotive serviced Jefferson Village School buses, Jefferson Fire and Rescue ambulances, Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service, Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services, and platforms. forms of other surrounding towns. The store also had a number of commercial fuel accounts.
But Steven Reynolds said All Seasons Automotive couldn’t keep the staff to meet this level of demand, and large commercial accounts that used 1,000 gallons of gasoline per week ended up having their own tanks and pumps in their stores. own garages.
Greg Reynolds said that when technological improvements on ambulances outgrown his automotive knowledge, ambulance companies shifted their repair contracts to dealerships. Despite this, the store had a lot of business, he said.
We draw from a whole region, Whitefield, Somerville, Washington, ”said Greg Reynolds. “We’ve been around long enough to have a good relationship with customers. “
Steven Reynolds loves the store and has said it doesn’t close due to a lack of activity. He said his labor costs were “half of what the dealers charge” so he had a large enough customer base “but overall it was not sustainable.”
He said new vehicles are getting more difficult. “You have to invest more money in the equipment to work there,” he said.
As a store for one or two men “I never leave this place,” he said. “I can’t go home without thinking about everything I have to do.”
He applauds everyone who owns their own business, but he and his wife Kendra have chosen a different path. “I saw my parents stressed out. I don’t want that for our future, ”he said.
Greg and Steven Reynolds have had a number of conversations about the fate of the company over the past few months. Greg Reynolds had always planned on selling the business to his son, but they ultimately agreed the right decision was to close and sell. “It hurt a lot,” Steven Reynolds said of the decision to close. “It’s been in the family for so long. But we have to think about our future.
Steven Reynolds accepted a job at Bath Iron Works with benefits, insurance, and paid vacation, none of which was available for him at the garage. He said he hadn’t had time to take a real vacation with his wife for several years. “You can’t just leave the store with no one here,” he said.
Greg Reynolds is pursuing a new light excavation business that includes repairing driveways, mowing fields, rotary tilling in the spring, summer and fall, and plowing in the winter. His new business is called All Seasons again.
Steven Reynolds said he feels All Seasons Automotive has been the heart of the city since the closure of Bond Hardware and the previous iteration of the Jefferson Marketplace.
He is happy to see that the market is reborn. He often goes there for a sandwich when he’s too busy to get home for lunch.
Despite the conflicting emotions involved in the decision to shut down, Steven Reynolds does not regret. “I think it’s a step in the right direction. We are happy and excited for the future, eager to see what will happen to this place.
Greg and Steven Reynolds said they spoke with several interested parties about the store’s purchase. Father and son both hope that it will remain a garage and continue to service the town of Jefferson.
“Pumping gas and sweeping the floors are some of my earliest memories,” said Steven Reynolds. And hanging out with the older guys in town who stop by will miss him.
“There will normally be five or six in the store on a Saturday with coffee and crackers, pulling the breeze, sharing much of the city’s history – a meeting of the spirits,” he said. They continue to comment as he works, talking about cars, sometimes offering advice on how to approach a specific repair.
But Steven Reynolds said he prefers the idea of working on cars as a hobby and looks forward to having the time to do so. Three of his four personal vehicles need to be inspected, which he says is ironic, since he performs inspections.
“At the end of a 10 or 12 hour work day, the last thing I want to do is work on my own car,” he said.
Steven Reynolds said it usually starts at 7 or 8 a.m. The closing time was 4pm, but he often worked later, especially during the winters when he was there until 8pm to change the snow tires.
He very rarely returned work. “I can’t say no to my clients,” he said.
“It’s been a long time in recent years. It’s a lot to run this place on your own, ”he said. “It will be strange not to be here. Strange to walk past.
Kendra Reynolds said her husband often put the needs of the city and the community ahead of his own. “Customers don’t realize how much passion he has, how much he wanted to make them all happy,” she said. But she knows how much her clients appreciated her.
The response to the closing announcement on the Jefferson Maine community Facebook page confirms this. It is filled with messages of gratitude, understanding and wishes for the future.
Rachel Austin Bethea summed up the feelings in her post, saying, “I wish you and yours all the best. We are selfishly sad at the loss of a trusted mechanic and a great company.”