Suquamish Auto History and More About Us
1900 to mid-1930: Mrs. May – original garage
In the early 1900′s, Mrs. May owned the only auto repair garage in Suquamish. At that time, the garage was located about a block south of where Suquamish Auto Repair is now. (For those of you who know Suquamish, it was located at the south end of the current lumberyard, across from the grocery store.) That original garage not only did auto repairs, it also had two hand-pumped gas pumps, and it had automobile parking/storage space.
Mid-1930 to late-1960: Leon Faler – Faler’s Garage
Leon Faler’s family originated in Pinedale, Wyoming, where Leon’s father was a hunting guide and his mother was the 1st Postmaster. Leon had two brothers, Otto and Walt. The Faler family moved from Wyoming to Utah, and then to California and eventually to the State of Washington…to the small town of Suquamish where in the mid-1930′s Leon rented (and eventually purchased) the auto repair garage from Mrs. May, and called it Faler’s Garage.
Suquamish Auto RepairLeon was known for training most of the local “boys” in the art of auto mechanics. Leroy Todd started to work with Leon in 1938, at the age of 10, a relationship that lasted for about 30 years. Some other “trainees” that some of you may know are…Jack Clark, Stanley Lund, Bennie Jackson, Johnny Belgard and Roy Lind. One of the features of the shop was the outside “ramp” that a car would be driven up on. Under the ramp was a pit whereby the mechanics could then work under the car.
In 1941, Leon built a new auto repair garage a couple of lots north of the original garage. (For those of you who know Suquamish, it was located in the building just south of where Suquamish Auto Repair is today.) The new building also had frozen food lockers in the back. Since not many folks had freezers at that time, this was a popular service. Herb Todd remembers painting those lockers for Leon with a couple of his friends. In exchange Leon would drive Herb and his friends up to Lake Cushman for a camping trip.
Leon would close the shop for business at 6pm…the fun would then begin. The shop was known as a “cracker barrel” of a place in the evening. Over several beers and a few tall tales, the men were known to plan the season’s hunting and fishing trips. It was quite a community gathering place…in the summer, the summer folks would join in and double the fun!
Leon also started the annual “Faler’s Picnic”. Every summer the entire town was invited up to Grey Wolf for a weekend. The grand picnic and camping event was enjoyed by all. On those days, you could rarely find a soul in Suquamish.
The old Fire Station (located where the current Suquamish Auto Repair is now) was at that time a volunteer Fire Station. Most of the men in town came to the call when the fire siren went off. Since Leon and most of his employees were volunteer fire fighters, when that siren went off, you not only hoped there were no injuries, you also knew that your car wouldn’t be fixed that day.
Late-1960 to late-1970: Ed Madle – Faler’s Garage
Ed Madle and his wife Loralee Madle purchased Faler’s Garage from Leon in the late 1960′s. Ed added parts sales and gas pumps. Ed lived in Kent and came into Suquamish on the weekends to check on the business. His brother Frank ran the business. Leroy Todd left Faler’s Garage during Ed Madle’s ownership. Leroy’s wife, Meredith Todd (Loralee’s sister) remembers working for Frank and Ed. Her duties ranged from pumping gas and checking oil to parts sales and bookkeeping. Ed owned the business for about 10 years.
Another notable event in the 1960′s was that a new Fire Station was built directly across the street from the old Fire Station. The old Fire Station building sat vacant for several years after.
Late-1970 to 1983: Faler’s Garage sat idle
1983 to 1990: Larry Todd – Faler’s Garage
Larry Todd (Leroy’s son) and his wife Karen purchased Faler’s Garage in 1983. Leroy Todd returned to work at Faler’s. Leroy loved working on cars and loved the community he served. Larry and Karen ran the business, Cathy Todd (Leroy’s daughter) worked at the front desk and Leroy worked on the cars. It was a truly a family owned and operated business. In 1987, Larry and Karen moved Faler’s Garage into the site where the old Fire Station was.
1990 to 2011: Larry Goodwin – Suquamish Auto Repair
Larry Goodwin and his wife Debbie bought Faler’s Garage in 1990 and changed the name from Faler’s Garage to Suquamish Auto Repair then to Suquamish Auto Service and Tire. Larry Goodwin worked in the automotive industry for over 40 years. Debbie was a local Suquamish-ite who had attended kindergarten through high school with Larry Todd. Larry ran the day-to-day operations for 21 years until his passing on April 15, 2011.
2011 to present
On September 1, 2011 the business was purchased by David Randall. Dave had been living in the Lynnwood area near Seattle, working in the automotive industry and achieving the designation of Master Technician. He moved to Kitsap County, joining his family, and in 1997 he acquired Quality Auto Care located at the ferry terminal on Bainbridge Island. Suquamish Auto Service and Tire is his second auto care facility.
The Falers and Todds built a solid foundation of community trust and friendships. Larry and Debbie, and now Dave, have all maintained that friendly, small town customer service while expanding the technical services to rival the dealerships. The professional technicians are all ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified and attend classes throughout the year – their training never stops! New equipment to service the latest technology is purchased every year. The entire Suquamish Auto Service and Tire team is committed to providing the best customer and technical services.
A special thanks to, Herb Todd, Merideth Todd, and Cathy Todd for sharing their wonderful stories.
If you have any special memories or some great pictures of Faler’s Garage,
please email us. We will post them on our web page.