George’s British American Auto Restore has been in Daytona Seashore for years
DAYTONA BEACH – Like an precise remnant of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry or that outdated TV waterhole the place ‘everybody is aware of your identify’, there are apparently no strangers across the counter at George’s British American Auto Restore.
Established on the nook of Orange and Palmetto avenues for 41 years, the corporate has constructed its fame on the unwavering dedication of loyal prospects like Tracy Griffin, an everyday for 17 years.
“I am not going to anybody else’s home,” Griffin mentioned, ready for work a latest morning. Griffin walks into the shop from his house in Palm Coast, even for routine upkeep on his 2016 Hyundai Sonata.
“I work in Jacksonville, that tells you my loyalty,” mentioned Griffin, a steerage counselor at a welding college. “I do not take care of anybody else as a result of I do not belief anybody else. No person, no one, no one touches my automotive besides George.
That might be George Zaharios, 60, patriarch of the shop he helped begin as a teen along with his father and older brother Michael in the summertime of 1980. The household moved from the Bayside neighborhood in Queens to New York Metropolis, the place additionally they operated a restore store.
George Zaharios accomplished the auto restore coaching program at what was then generally known as Daytona Seashore Neighborhood School and went to work as a teen within the household enterprise. At 60, it’s nonetheless there that it’s discovered nearly daily of the yr, except for main holidays like Independence Day, Christmas and New Years.
“You will not see an indication on the door, ‘I went to the races’ or ‘Gone Fishing’,” he mentioned. “My dad was old style and what he taught me was quite simple. You present up daily, you deal with individuals like they need to be handled, and you do not harm them financially. Be affordable.
“Do that and you’ll all the time have work.”
“There’s historical past”
On the nook of Orange and Palmetto, the system labored.
Whereas there isn’t any main marquee, which fell sufferer to the winds of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the storage beneath the distinctive gabled roof stays busy with phrase of mouth and longtime devotees.
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One latest morning there was a relentless stream of shoppers, all acquainted faces of Peggy Zaharios, George’s spouse of 34 years, who labored on the counter, on the telephone and on paperwork.
“Everybody is aware of everybody,” mentioned Peggy, who additionally helps prospects refuel now and again on the retailer’s solely fuel pump. “We by no means have to promote. “
Among the many regulars is Regina Beauton, 85, of Daytona Seashore. She has been taking her 2005 Ford Focus to the workshop for 15 years. Dependable service is not the one factor that evokes this dedication, she mentioned.
“What’s fascinating about this place is that there’s a bunch of characters and individuals who come to speak,” she mentioned. “I used to be there the opposite day they usually mounted my automotive, they nonetheless do, however whereas I am sitting there individuals come and go, and most of them have been prospects for years. They discuss like they’re all outdated associates. I like this place. There’s historical past.
Like all household, this story will not be clean.
George and his brother Michael, who labored collectively to begin the enterprise, separated about 5 years after their father, Mike Zaharios, handed away on the age of 64 in 2001.
Now Michael Zaharios owns and operates Michael’s British, American & International Auto Restore proper subsequent door on Palmetto. In 2015, her retailer gained the inaugural Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “We Have Seen” Award, a recognition program designed to spotlight enhancements made by space companies.
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“We do not actually discuss an excessive amount of,” mentioned George. “Now we have all the time been two completely different personalities.
Standing above a Toyota Avalon in one of many workshop’s service areas, George talks enthusiastically concerning the evolution of his restore enterprise, an operation targeted on electrical programs for just about each engine possible. Behind him are cabinets stacked from flooring to ceiling with starters and alternators, others hanging from the ceiling and nonetheless others hidden in one other nook, he mentioned.
“I do know we have now over 3,000 starters for certain,” he mentioned. “There’s extra on the market which you can’t see.”
Nearly all of components are supposed for automobiles, each overseas and home.
Zaharios is thought for his experience in high-end basic automobiles, mentioned Allan Brewer, proprietor of Evans & Son High-quality Jewelers on close by Seashore Road and a longtime classic automotive collector.
“He is one of many solely guys on the town who can work on my 1965 427 Cobra,” Brewer mentioned. “There are only a few individuals I’d belief to essentially get my arms on it.
“With George, I carry him again repeatedly,” Brewer mentioned. “He and his household are completely devoted to customer support and their experience is huge.
“He is likely one of the few (mechanics) to cowl not solely American however European automobiles, the older ones – Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Mercedes,” he mentioned. “It’s a must to decipher these outdated automobiles and within the 70s and 80s they had been advanced automobiles. You did not have the computer systems you have got immediately.
However automobiles aren’t the one focus of George’s Storage, a family-owned enterprise that additionally consists of two sons of the identical identify, George Jr., 32, and Derrick, 30.
On a close-by workbench there’s a motor for the electrical awning of a motorhome. The shop additionally receives plenty of enterprise from the realm’s industrial fishermen, George mentioned.
“King’s Seafood (in Port Orange), Hull’s Seafood (in Ormond Seashore); plenty of industrial fishermen within the space come to me as a result of I construct starters and alternators for all these huge diesel engines, ”he mentioned.
In such instances, Zaharios and his sons are recognized to remain late to verify an engine is working, in order that its proprietor would not lose cash, miss work, or miss vital obligations.
“Take a look at the working crew,” he mentioned, pointing a thick, greasy finger at a development crew throughout Palmetto Avenue. “Do you assume if the alternator works like this they will wait?” They’ve to repair it; if not, you have got guys standing up.
Likewise, Zaharios has a behavior of being within the retailer an hour earlier than its official opening time of 8 a.m., providing prospects the choice of dropping off automobiles on their option to work.
“It’s a must to put your self within the individual’s scenario,” mentioned George.
It is one other lesson discovered from his father, a secret to the longevity of the shop that is not a lot of a secret in any respect, he mentioned.
“Not a day goes by that I do not point out my father,” George mentioned. “With out him, we would not have discovered to run a enterprise, to proceed working. Deal with individuals the way in which they need to be handled. There is no such thing as a thriller to this.
- When George’s British American Auto Restore opened in 1980, this is a have a look at what else was occurring all over the world:
- Mount St. Helens erupted on Might 18 in Washington, inflicting avalanches, explosions, giant ash clouds, mudslides and big injury that left 57 individuals useless.
- The Rubik’s Dice puzzle made its debut in London, producing a worldwide craze.
- CNN started broadcasting from its headquarters in Atlanta, the primary 24-hour information community accessible to cable subscribers in america and Canada.
- The USA Olympic ice hockey workforce made historical past by defeating the much-favored Soviet Union on the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics in a recreation that turned generally known as “Miracle”. on ice “.
- Former Beatle John Lennon was gunned down by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman exterior his New York Metropolis condo on December 8, 1980. He was 40 years outdated.
- Serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr. has been sentenced to loss of life for the homicide of 33 boys and younger males.
- Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President of america, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.
- Thousands and thousands of individuals watch the drama “Dallas” in prime time to seek out out who shot JR Ewing.
Made Simply Proper: About this collection
The Daytona Seashore Information-Journal highlights space companies which were round lengthy sufficient to be an vital a part of our collective historical past. You probably have owned a enterprise that has been in enterprise for at the very least 25 years, or wish to nominate a enterprise for recognition, please contact reporter Jim Abbott at [email protected] Make sure to embody your identify, telephone quantity and a bit of bit concerning the historical past of the corporate.
WHAT: George’s British American Auto Restore
OR: 154 Orange Avenue, Daytona Seashore
HOURS: 8 am-6pm Monday to Friday