A little about how Bell’s Auto Care came to be and a little about Mark …
As a kid, growing up, I was always intrigued on how things worked and what made them tick. So, I was always finding myself taking things apart to try and figure out why they didn’t work and then to try come up with a way to repair them and get them working. Well, needless to say, most times they remained broken because I couldn’t find the needed parts or tools to repair them. At this point, it was mainly electrical items like TVs, radios, and lights. Basically, if you could plug it in and turn on a switch and it didn’t work I was taking it apart. So, as my frustrations grew not having what I needed and my parents a little nervous with me playing with electricity, I moved on to gasoline powered engines.
I would find old lawn mowers that people would dispose of and take them home to try to get them running in working order. Again, I was not always successful in my ventures however I gained a supply of used parts. I quickly found out I could take enough parts from one and use them to repair another. That was when I learned you can’t fix them all; however you could recycle most all of the parts and restore a majority of the mowers. So, after a year or so I was ready for the next challenge, at the age of 14, I decided it was time to move up to the challenge of repairing cars and trucks. Luckily for me, my father had a hobby of buying things at auction to fix them up and resell them.
At the age of 16, I got a job at the local Amoco station and worked there after school and weekends. First I started out pumping gas and cleaning up in the shop and helped the mechanics in any way that I could. I enrolled in the Automotive Technology class offered at the local BOCES and over the next two years I found that I was working side by side with the mechanics in the shop. After working full time in the shop for the next year, I decided that this is what I wanted to do as a career. So I went off to Alfred State College. While there I found that as much as the teachers would challenge us, that my new friends were challenging the teachers just as much. As the next couple of years unfolded my class mates and I found the instructors stepping up the challenges, as we were also stepping up our game solving and ability to repair the vehicles. As graduation day came I not only found myself graduating Alfred State, but I found myself feeling more confident in my abilities to repair cars and loved the challenge of diagnosing a car with a unique problem and repairing them. I also learned that I was one of two that had graduated as ASE Master Technician which had never happened in the college’s history.
After graduation, I came back to Dryden to work at a local repair shop for a year and decided that I would take a chance and open up my own shop.
In 1986 Bell’s Auto Care was born. My plan was to operate as a one person shop and in maybe 5 years or so hire another person. I placed an ad with a local paper for a $9.99 oil change special. Much to my surprise the ad had my phones ringing so much that I had to call the paper and to have them cancel the ad from running any longer. On day two of being open and finding myself unable to fill the demand for all the customers, I made a phone call to see if my old friend Bruce Neff could come and help me out for a couple of days. These couple of days turned into 30 years as he is still with us.
So fast forward 30 years and I find myself sitting here with 12 employees and two locations; ready to start construction on an addition that will more than double the size of our original Dryden location. I never in a million years would have guessed that this would have been possible. I know it never would have been without the help and dedication of each and every one of our employees. I have been truly blessed to have so many loyal and dedicated customers who have made these last 30 years a dream come true!