Quite a few years back, I found an auto repair shop that I loved -- just loved. Now, I know it's not common to have such devotion to an auto repair show, but if any place deserved it, it was A&B Chevy. (They didn't only work on Chevrolets, but that was their name,)
There were a few reasons I loved A&B Chevy. They did great work. Their prices were solid. They were remarkably honest. The owners, two older fellows, Hank and Ed (who were brothers) were so friendly in that warm, crusty, juggling three things at once, familiar way. And the topper was that they were in my neighborhood, walking distance, maybe about six blocks away. I could leave my car there and walk home. I just loved the place. And when they retired and shut down the business, my heart broke. In the years since, whenever I pass by the old place in West Los Angeles, I still get a twinge, hoping that maybe they had a change of heart and reopened the place 15 years later. Alas.
There's a point to this all. Trust me.
In the intervening years, I eventually bought a Ford Contour at a dealership also in my neighborhood, Walker-Buerge Ford, which was similarly about six blocks away. The place had been in existence for a really long time -- seriously long, by any standards, but especially by Los Angeles standards. We're talking 93 years. That's "yipes" territory. I certainly did love Walker-Buerge like I did my dear hearts at A&B Chevy, but as far as dealerships go, they were pretty friendly and fairly trustworthy. They tended to keep employees for a while, so I could go back to the same people time and again, and that helps a lot.
Then, a month ago, I was on my morning walk when I saw...Walker-Buerge boarded up! After 93 years in business, they were closed. It was an ack moment. I like repair shops in the area because it makes life oh-so much more convenient. Not having to coordinate schedules with cars or anything, just drive over, leave your car and walk home, where I work.
What to do? The nearest Ford dealership was down in Marina del Rey. Were there any good repair shops nearby? Who knew? I did some searching online, and to my great pleasure found a place on Yelp that had 5-star raves. I mean, serious 5-star raves. There were 119 reviews, and their overall average is...5 stars. Would you think that's possible for an auto repair shop??? Honest, honorable, fair prices, helpful. Ah, great, very happy to learn this, and best and most amazingly of all, they're not only in my neighborhood...but even closer than all those other places. Maybe four blocks away at best. Baizer & Grimmett. (No, not the British animated characters. That's Wallace and Grommett...)
I finally had a reason to try them out today. It was oil change time. I dropped my car off, and an hour later wandered back over. One of the owners, John Grimmett, mentioned that he noticed a lot of scrapes on the side of my car (from my building's car port, when I've been forced to part too close to a post), and said, "I got a lot of the scratches out. I could have done a better job, but didn't have more time." He did a great job with them -- and remember, this was my first time at the place (which he didn't know), I wasn't a long-time customer. He just went and cleaned up the scrapes, no charge. Oh, and he also talked me into a lower-priced motor oil, saying the higher grade wasn't necessary. Yeah, go figure. He wants a happy, satisfied customer.
One thing that stands out about the office are the celebrity photos on the wall. They're not remotely the typical L.A. signed-photos, mind you. Not even close. What I mean is -- they were autographed customers like Clark Gable. And Fred Astaire. And Stan Laurel. And Marilyn Monroe, Gene Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Glenn Ford, Jackie Gleason and more. Now, that's a customer photo wall. All of them customers at one time or another, including a bunch more recent. I asked him about the history of the place. It turns out his grandfather had a shop in Beverly Hills, and that's where the photos are from. Eventually that shop went to his uncles, and John decided he had to find another place to work. He called his friend Scott Baizer, who had this location in West L.A., they decided to team up, and formed Baizer & Grimmett.
Hold on, I'm getting to the point.
The two had known each other for a while, and Scott's father, he said, "used to have a shop just down the road here, that he ran with his brother." The name of that shop?
Hank and Ed! Those were Scott Baizer's father and uncle. Baizer. That was the "B" in A&B Chevy! And now, he and John Grimmett have since teamed up for Baizer & Grimmett.
No wonder the service was so good. And friendly. And went out of their way to do extra work that wasn't asked for, and not even charged.
Apparently, all good things do sometimes come to those who wait. And wait. And wait and wait...
All I can add is that if you live in West Los Angeles and are looking for an auto repair shop, I know a place. Baizer & Grimmett. I've only been there once, but it was an awfully good start. You can find them here at 11717 Santa Monica Blvd.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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