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Having an auto business in a downtown has become rare, at one time all of them were here, only we remained and were very successful. Our downtown reinvented itself with small specialty shops, we fit right in … an old style personable sales and service business. The trend has been to move auto businesses out to the strip, no sidewalks with pedestrian traffic, the building 100 feet from the road … removed. We had foot traffic 20 feet in front of my office … on the sidewalk. Interesting at times, all the local “crazies” would walk downtown. Years ago we had the transvestite hooker thing that would strut by in 10 inch heels. And the shirtless, barefoot, head-shaved Zen walker who you would see walking very focused all over town. And the screaming at imaginary things people, there were a few of those over the years. Most recently we have the smoking arm-swinging marcher who stops to write things in the air and direct imaginary traffic. And the stereotypical grubby bearded long haired homeless guy … Picture02… when we had an outdoor vehicle safety clinic with free hotdogs and pop we fed him … the insurance agent who was part of the event told me the story of her young daughter seeing homeless people begging in a big city and wanting to help them and feed them, she tried to explain that reality … her daughter said, “but Mom, they were once someone’s baby”. We even had Jesus pass through town a few years back, this guy was getting national attention walking across the county in white robes claiming to be.

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We also have the budget motel and apartment residents who amble by, many in motorized wheel chairs. About five blocks north is the motel that has long term guests ..  and about the same distance south is the old Mercy Hospital, converted to apartments that house low income and handicapped. These are good people, down-on-their-luck, a few have become regular visitors that the guys in the shop have befriended, motor-chair-Charlie was a regular who would stop to visit Chris in parts before he headed to the service department to chat with the guys and have coffee.

And there was “hey big guy” Joe, who would make one dollar sports bets and offer you candy.

And Bill, “don’t call me Billy”, who collected scrap metal, he visited daily, his father was a salesman here from the late 1950’s to the early ‘70’s. It was Bill’s home away from home.

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