The Old Garage Is Gone

It's hard to tell where it was anymore. Somewhere over here where the new parking lot is.

It's hard to tell where it was anymore. Somewhere over here where the new parking lot is. All the other old buildings that were around it are gone, too. The whole neighborhood has changed. Hardly anything looks like it did back then.

The garage wasn't much to see when the shop got its start there more than 25 years ago. It was a cinder block building with a couple of bays and a small office attached. The lot around it was just gravel and dirt. And to think that only a handful of machines were inside at first—a couple of knee mills, a grinder, a rebuilt lathe, all of them battleship gray where they still had paint.

What mattered was the work they did in the hands of a couple of guys with a dream: a dream that was coming true and starting to grow. From one bay in the garage to two. Then the room in back, and then the lean-to added on the side where the motorcycles could be parked in the shade. There's a thrill to not knowing how far things will go once they start to take off. Sure, things got tough sometimes, but it was fun.

Lunches on the picnic table with the new hires if the weather was nice. Lots of carry-out dinners eaten there, too, when some big jobs came through. A couple of teenagers from the neighborhood, which was still pretty nice back then, came in after school to sweep floors and do odd jobs. One summer the garage got a new coat of paint on a Sunday, and a couple of shrubs went in on either side of the office door.

Then came the big decision to buy that first CNC and find a new place with more room and better facilities. Nobody was sorry to leave the old garage. Even the company sign got left behind.

The place became a garage again for a while, then a cabinet maker or someone like that moved in. Who knows after that?

Now it's been two relocations and several expansions for the shop in the years since that first move. Just a few of the guys who started out in the garage are still with the company. One of the kids who swept floors there is a supervisor on second shift now and has teenagers of his own.

The company's newest place on the other side of town has some acreage, and the surrounding industrial park is landscaped with lots of green trees and a pond. The building looks great. So did the old garage at this time of year, when the shrubs had a string of lights, and there was a wreath on the door.