Cars have changed a lot since Harry Parsons opened Harry’s Standard service station at Davenport and Michigan in downtown Saline in 1959. Heck, downtown Saline has changed a lot. In fact, Harry’s itself has changed. It stopped serving gasoline and now focuses on auto repair.
But what hasn’t changed is what people expect from their mechanic: Honestly, expertise, quality of work and a fair price.
Today, Rick Parsons owns Harry’s Auto Service. A grease monkey if ever there was one, Rick Parsons practically grew up in a garage. Long before he was old enough to get his driver’s license, his dad would bring home his customers’ old, unwanted cars – the kind of cars that would win classic car show contests today -- and Rick would race them around their property south of town.
Rick has a motto at Harry’s.
“If it has a motor and runs on wheels, we can fix it,” he said.
As long, they don’t have to pull the engine out of the vehicle, it can be done in Harry’s small downtown shop. Otherwise, Harry’s has a long list of service it provides vehicle owners: Tires, brakes, batteries, exhaust, wheel balancing, shocks and struts, starters, ball joints, wheel bearings and car detailing.
Today, Rick is joined by his oldest son, Daniel, at Harry’s Auto Service. Rick’s youngest son, Matthew, works in auto detailing.
Next year, Harry’s will celebrate 60 years in business. Rick has been around for most of them.
“We’ve been here more than 50 years, so people in Saline know they can trust us. We know what we’re doing and we work for a fair price,” Parsons said.
As well known as Harry’s is for its work, it’s also known for the friendly dogs who greet all customers.
Rick’s dog is Harley, a large and golden retriever who can often be spotted walking around the corner. Harley is a descendant of Charlie – a retriever who gained the world’s attention because he would take customer’s money at the pumps back when Harry’s was a full-service gas station. Harley doesn’t bring in the network television cameras, but he does have a lot of friends in Saline.
“We have a lot of people who come by just to say to Harley,” Parsons said.
And these days, Harley has a friend. Daniel’s puppy is Bocephus, a hulking chocolate Newfoundland, who’s just as friendly as Harley.
Harry’s Auto Service is located at 221 E. Michigan Ave. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information call 429-9930 or visit www.harrysautoservice.com.