If you haven’t had a vehicle fixed by Bob Banner or one of his sons, chances are you know someone in Sooke who has.
After 40 years in business, Banner, the founder and owner of Bob’s Repair Center on Idlemore Road, is closing for good.
“It’s sad to have to close after 40 years,” admitted Bob Banner, who owned the business with his sons. “It all started with my wife, Jeanne. I bought the property and built the building in 1986, and before that I worked in my garden from 1972-1973.
“I met a lot of people along the way, I served a lot of people, and probably the intruder was mad at me. I’m 86 now and lucky to be able to sell it,” said Bob, who retired about 20 years ago.
Banner is proud to have been able to mentor his four sons, Greg, Ken, Steven and Ray, for their Red Seal mechanic certification tickets along the way.
Greg, who started working with his father after graduating from high school in 1984, began doing repairs in the yard of the family home with his father.
The brothers worked as mechanics at the Shell station on Sooke Road before Bob’s repair center opened. The oldest brother, Steven, died of cancer and another brother, Ray, had to stop working after an injury on the spot at the store, but Greg and Ken continued to work until the last official day of May 31.
“I don’t think I would have lasted this long without the opportunity to work with my dad and brothers,” Ken said. “It was very rewarding.”
They’ve worked on just about every type of engine and vehicle, “Everything from lawn mowers to dump trucks,” Ken noted.
“If there were wheels, we practically worked on one,” added Greg. “Over the years, the feedback has always been positive. It makes you feel good about what you are doing.
“Everyone who came knows dad. We could probably do a TV show with some of the characters we’ve met over the years. People who don’t know us by Bob’s Repair Center probably know us by fastball. We’ve all played, and our kids have played, and we’ve always been big fans of fastpitch in Sooke.
Greg said it was a good time to finally close the shop, and he’s ready to call it a day.
“When you have your own business, you don’t have the option of not going to work one day,” he explained. “I can’t wait to find some peace and quiet and let the body heal. It’s been quite demanding standing on concrete for 38 years. It’s been taking its toll.”
A Facebook post from a longtime client describes their father as “honest to the core”, which Greg and Ken believe says it all.
The Banners invite all those wishing to say a final farewell to drop by on June 23, between 9 a.m. and noon.