By Sue Moore
Trust is what Lovell Auto Service has built over the years, according to Tim Landrum, brother of Tom who had previously owned and operated the business with his wife, Margaret. Tom died of cancer in 2012, and now Tim has committed to joining the family business.
Margaret Landrum, Tom’s wife, remains the owner and says her role is to see that the bills get paid. “I don’t work on cars, I balance the books”, the CPA and accounting software consultant explains.
“There is a lot of loyalty to the family business from our customers,” Tim says as he reflects on his first few weeks on the job. He retired from being a mechanic for the Kalamazoo County Road Commission in July, and is now serving the public rather than a private fleet. “It’s been a good transition; my nephew, Dan Levering, the general manager, and mechanic, Randy Smith, are helping me learn the business.”
It all started in founder John Landrum’s garage on Lovell Street in Schoolcraft in 1978. John was a truck driver by trade and did his own truck repairs. Shortly thereafter, sons Charlie and Tom joined the business. Tom and Margaret moved the business to 118 South 14th Street in 2004, due to growth and the need to expand.
Tim, who says he was born a mechanic, was married and had a baby on the way, so he chose the steady job at the Road Commission, where he worked 36 years. He did most of the service calls for road breakdowns of equipment because he is a jack of all trades and can fix just about anything, he says. He has certification as a master automotive mechanic and master heavy truck mechanic.
“Our goal is to diversify. If you can break it, we can fix it!” Landrum declares. “Before, we were all automotive; now it is our desire to fix whatever we can fit in the door, including anything from yard & garden equipment to big trucks.”
Landrum states, “I have a love/hate relationship with computers in cars- they are so temperamental. Today’s automobiles are to a great degree, computers on wheels. We have hightech diagnostic equipment and a combined 98 years of mechanical experience to help us determine the problem(s) and get people back on the road as quickly as possible.
Building trust and good relationships with our customers and community is the most important thing to the staff here at Lovell Auto Service. When you leave here satisfied, we have done our job,” Landrum believes.