(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
After 72 years of business, Reeves Wheel Alignment, Inc. in Owosso will be closing. The announcement was made on Facebook on Sunday, Nov. 22.
Jeff and Glen Reeves, brothers, made the social media post. The business will continue through Friday, Dec. 4.
The post reads, “After having the pleasure of serving our customers for the past 72 years, we are announcing that Reeves Wheel Alignment Inc. will be closing on December 4, 2020.
Glen and I have had the honor of carrying on in the footsteps of our father, Clay Reeves. While it is hard to know when the time is right for that to come to an end, we have made the decision to close this chapter in our lives and sell our building. As you can imagine, we have both experienced many emotions over the past several months because we have been blessed to have been part of a great community and had employees and customers that have been like family to us.
From the bottoms of our hearts we say thank you! Thank you for your support through the years and we look forward to seeing you over the next couple of weeks.”
The longtime auto service business is located on S. Water Street in downtown Owosso – marking the third location for Reeves in its well-respected history with the community. The first location was a one-room shop across from the Comstock Inn and Conference Center in 1948, followed by a move to where Sunnyside Florist is today. In 1982, the business relocated to its current location.
Jeff shared that the closing marks a “move into a new chapter. Our industry is changing and some of the ‘mom and pops’ are disappearing. Plus, this job is very taxing on your body.”
Glen agreed it was a new chapter for him, as well. “I’m honestly not sure what I will do with myself. I’m going to take it easy for a few weeks and then decide.”
Clay Reeves, their father, started the business after returning from WWII. Clay raised his family around the business. Though many of his children are scattered throughout the country now, Jeff and Glenn have continued with the operation.
“We started with carbureated non-computer systems all the way through to fuel injector computer systems,” Glenn shared.
Along with the announcement of the closing, comes a second announcement that Bill Gilbert of Gilberts Do It Best Hardware & Appliance – located kitty-corner from Reeves in downtown Owosso – is purchasing the auto service business to use as a store expansion and warehouse.
“We wondered what was going to be the next level,” Glenn said. “This presented itself and it is so good to see somebody locally expanding. I really want people to know what a privilege and honor it has been to serve this community.
Bill Gilbert shared he was sorry to learn of the closing when he first heard. The Reeves and Gilbert family share a decades-long relationship. Bill Gilbert’s father, Chuck, served on various boards with Clay Reeves – particularly the board that evolved into Owosso Main Street.
“When we found out they might be interested in selling, we were definitely interested in buying,” said Gilbert. He explained that he has been leasing a warehouse on Delaney Road for a few years, which has not always been the most ideal storage solution. “This gives us another showroom and allows us to move part of our store over there. There are lots of things we’re thinking of doing right now.”
“We have to carry a certain level of cash and carry appliances in boxes, so having a nearby warehouse space will be more efficient,” he added. He also mentioned that he plans on hiring two more full-time employees with the expansion to Reeves.
Along with transitioning merchandise – possibly scratch-and-dent – to the second location, the expansion will allow for a better use of space in the original Gilberts complex along Main Street. The previous Julie K boutique area has been serving as a warehouse for some time, but could possibly become an expanded space for additional hardware items.
“We now repair all appliances we sell,” Gilbert added. “We’d like to add more service staff. We feel very fortunate that customers are coming in and we are grateful for our great staff.”
Bill shared how so much of the longtime success of the business can also be attributed to his brother, KC, who retired two years ago – demonstrating yet another connection between the two Owosso businesses with brothers working with brothers; families with families.