When Ron Brown started working at a North Bend gas station in 1966 while still a student at Mount Si High School, he never expected that 40 years later he would still be working with cars.
“It just kind of turned out that way,” he said.
Ron’s Auto Service in North Bend, which provides general auto supplies and repairs, is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary on June 1.
“The old motto used to be that if you wanted it done right, go to Ron’s,” said his lead mechanic, Greg Counts.
Counts, who has been in the auto industry for 30 years and owned his own auto shop in Snoqualmie for five years until 2002, has been working with Brown for the past three years.
When his own shop closed three years ago, he decided to work for Brown because, “he was the best dude in town.”
Brown, who graduated from Mount Si in 1968 and is now 57 with two grown children, has lived in the Valley his entire life.
He began what would become his career working at a local gas station while in high school.
From there, Brown worked for five years at Smitty’s Automotive Repair & Towing in North Bend. After awhile, he went to work at an ARCO station in North Bend, of which he eventually became the owner in 1976. Though he changed the name to Ron’s Auto Service, Brown said that everyone just called it “Ron’s ARCO.”
He moved to the current location along Southeast Middle Fork Road in North Bend 12 years ago.
It is one of the oldest auto repair shops in North Bend, he said. The shop was voted “Best of the Valley” for auto repair in 2005 and this year tied for second place with Fall City Tesoro.
Though the Valley has changed and grown over the years, Brown commented that, “the people are still the same; they’re still cool.”
The faces have changed, though, as his longtime customers, some of whom have been a client of Brown’s since 1966, are getting older. Now a new generation of clientele has surfaced.
“It used to be that everyone knew me,” he said. “Now, it’s just not the old-school people who come in.”
The vehicles themselves have also changed with time, as there has been a recent increase in foreign vehicles, he noted, and an increase in specialized shops to accommodate them.
“I can see the general auto shop being phased out in the next 20 years,” he said, noting that he hopes to be retired by then, though he doesn’t see himself retiring any time soon.
“It’s been really enjoyable,” he said, regarding his 30-plus years working in the Valley. “I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
In honor of the 30th anniversary, Brown said he would like to run a special deal for customers, though he did not have additional information at press time.
Ron’s Auto Service is located at 46925 S.E. Middle Fork Road in North Bend. To reach Brown, call (425) 888-1150.