Cecil Brown's legacy lives on
Cecil Brown started his auto repair shop in 1980 and his eldest son Bruce Brown ran it. Then they moved in the mid- to early 1980s and due to a series of events the shop has found a new home.
"Cecil's been here for 38 years and we started in (an) antique building that's a wine shop now …," said Scott Robertson, who acquired the business about two years ago. "There was a Chevron across the street and there was the bowling alley and a Ford dealership."
After a few years at its first location, Cecil Brown decided to expand the business and moved to Wilsonville Road, where it remained for nearly 34 years. The shop was doing well: Cecil Brown tended to the vehicles while Bruce was responsible for the paperwork.
Then in 2007, Cecil Brown died and his son took over the shop to keep it in the family.
During that time Robertson, 54, was hired to work for the company as a mechanic and started to learn the ropes of running the company. He helped the customers, worked on cars and learned the paperwork under Bruce Brown while raising a family.
Then Bruce Brown died in January 2016 and in order to continue the legacy, Robertson took over operation of the business as owner.
"I want to give all credit and success of the business to Bruce Brown," Robertson said. "Bruce passed away and that is what lead up to all this. … His brother wanted to close it down and that's not what Bruce would have done. Bruce was always about taking care of his customers."
Robertson had the same vision for the shop and customer care as Bruce Brown and agreed with Bruce's wife Paulette that he would continue to run the business and take care of the debt and responsibilities.
Robertson transferred the company name to Cecil's Auto Repair Inc. "to honor Cecil and Bruce by keeping the legacy going."
A short time later, the Brown family wanted to sell the property on Wilsonville Road where a light industrial complex is now under construction. Robertson was determined to keep the shop running and put the word out that he was looking for a new location. Finally, in August, he found a space the business could move into on North Howard Street.
"The place is warm; it is really nice," Robertson said.
"Business is still good, but some people, our long-time customers like the elderly who read the papers and not the Internet, do not know that we moved or where we are," he said. "Right now, we are slow like all shops during and after the holiday season, but people who go online are still finding me."
Paulette Brown still works at Cecil's answering the phones and doing the bookkeeping.
"This keeps her employed and helps with Social Security," Robertson said. "Austin, my son, works with me now and sometimes my 10-year-old helps around a bit."
The business is located at 511 N. Howard St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and the phone number is 503-538-7750.