Garage closes doors after 50 years, long time customers mourn loss
PENNFIELD - It was the end of an era on Friday when Anderson's Garage closed its doors for the last time after 50 years in business.
Owner Donny Justason, who was busy working on cars right up until the last minute, said he went to work 52 years ago so he has enough. "I think it is time I quit but I hate to give up my customers. That bothers me more than giving up the garage. I have made a lot of friends."
Those customers just hate to see him go as well. On any day you are likely to find a handful of men hanging out at the garage chatting about this and that as Justason works on a vehicle - they are going to miss him.
The garage was started by Holmes Anderson when he returned from serving overseas in 1946. Justason went to work for him in 1950 and took over the business in 1979 following Anderson's death.
"I stopped in here for a quart of oil and I have been here ever since," he recalled. At that time he was working in Saint John and Anderson asked him if he would come to work for him. "It was a lot closer to home so I said yes."
At one time the garage also sold snowmobiles and they did get a lot of work on snowmobile repairs but Justason said he gave up that side of the business when he took it over. "Many times I would go to the garage on a Saturday night to work on a snowmobile so they could have it for Sunday."
While Friday was the last day in operation for the garage he said he would probably be there for another week, sorting out his tools and taking care of other business then the building, which still belongs to the Anderson family, will be torn down.
"I have worked on a lot of cars and quite a lot of people hang around here. They are going to miss coming here. There is still a lot of work around here. I always had more than enough to keep me going."
His customers came not just from Pennfield but Beaver Harbour, St. George, Blacks Harbour, St. Stephen and even Saint John.
As Justason worked on changing the oil in his truck, long-time customer Doug Eldridge said he and his wife always brought their vehicles to him. "We always left it up to him to fix it. There are some garages I would not go to. We will really miss him."
Justason, who turns 66 in October, said he had no immediate plans for his retirement. He is going to take the winter to decide what he is going to do. "I am just going to work around the house and do some of the jobs my wife has been chasing me for."
His last week at the garage was really busy with people coming in wanting work done before he closed down. "I think they all thought I was fooling because I gave everyone lots of notice."
As a crowd stood around bantering back and forth with Justason, another long-time customer commented that half of them would have to give up driving once the garage closed its doors.