WEYMOUTH – I stopped by T&S Auto & Truck Repair in North Weymouth last Thursday morning and a man who lives down the road happened to come in with a problem.
He had brought an estimate he had gotten elsewhere for repairing his car and showed it to the two owners/mechanics, John Taylor and Steve Shore.
“It just doesn’t seem right to me,” he said. The sum totaled more than $700.
Steve looked at it and handed it to John.
“That probably includes some things that are only recommended because of the mileage of the car,” said John. “Let me run a diagnostic on your car and I can tell you what’s needed.
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The customer decided to leave his car for the day. As he left, he said, “I hope you never retire.”
John, 76, from Hull, and Steve, 70, from Hingham, have no plans to go anywhere anytime soon.
“We both love what we do,” said Steve.
What keeps them working into their 70s? The human.
“I would miss interacting with customers” coming from as far away as Duxbury and Cohasset, Steve said.
I went there because of an email tip from AnnieJo Maher, mid 60s, who lives nearby and has been driving her car to John’s for 40 years.
“John is honest and fair,” she wrote. “It would be nice to write an article about him. He is a humble man but so well deserved for his dedication to his community. John is a gem.”
Both John and Steve, she said, are special to “a lot of people, especially North Weymouth residents, who have been servicing their cars for many years. They work together and look you in the eye.”
If her daughter has problems with the car, she goes straight to John or Steve.
“I was taught to bring a guy over to discuss anything automotive with a mechanic, but they were as good as brothers to me,” said AnnieJo.
The two have now been in the Bridge Street business for 47 years. They met 50 years ago while studying aeronautical engineering and mechanics at the former East Coast Aero Tech in Lexington.
John, then 25, served as the Marine Corps helicopter crew chief in Vietnam and returned home in 1969. Steve, then 18, graduated from North Quincy High in 1970.
After becoming a master mechanic, they managed the truck repair shop of a construction company together. They found that they hit it off, got to know their moods and personalities, and shared the same values and work ethic. John suggested starting his own repair shop on the side.
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“See that little brick building?” John said last week, pointing out the window at a small building across from Bridge Street where they rented a single repair shed in 1975. The business grew slowly, and in 1977 they bought the former Sunoco station at 303 Bridge St., where they have remained. They soon quit their other jobs and added a second repair shop in 1983.
“There are a lot of garages around Weymouth,” said Steve, “and they’re very good too. But we have a special connection with our customers. You speak directly to the mechanic when you come here. If you have a problem, we’ll go with you. And we’ll tell you what we did when you come to pick it up. There are no misunderstandings.”
To survive, they had to invest in new computer equipment and upgrades. “The diagnostic tool is good and can show you what’s wrong,” John said. “Diagnosis is everything in this business. You do your best to give customers a 90 percent (accurate) estimate and we’ve been very lucky.”
Another longtime customer, Bruce Cameron, 76, of Weymouth, has 45 years of service.
“They do exactly what I want and at very fair prices,” Cameron said. “I tell them, ‘If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know what I would do.’ “
David Belmarsh, 78, lives nearby in North Weymouth and has been a customer for 30 years. His children and brother are now also customers.
“If they feel they can’t do something, they say so and suggest where I can go,” he said. “They are so experienced and knowledgeable and they don’t come cheap but I think it’s very good at what they’re charging.”
Tom and Dianne Reilly of Hingham were Steve’s neighbors 35 years ago when they started taking their cars to him. Today their four adult children and other family members have joined them.
“They’ve always given us the best deals, there’s always a smiling face, very trustworthy,” Dianne said. “They’re like, ‘How are your kids? What’s going on in your life?’ It’s a real hometown experience.”
Raised in Framingham and Roxbury, John Taylor graduated from Brighton High School’s automotive course in 1963 and was studying mechanical engineering at the Franklin Institute of Technology when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He spent a year in Vietnam as a helicopter crew chief. His late mother, Helen Kasparian Taylor, who lived to be 102, was a single mother and nurse for 50 years, 25 of those years in the Jamaica Plains Armenian Nursing Home.
Longtime residents of Hingham, Steve and his wife Karen have four children: Stephen, Jeffrey, Nicholas and Amanda.
Reach Sue Scheible at email@example.com.
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