ADAMS -- Though much has changed since 1940, small-town values remain intact at Dean's Auto Repair on West Road.
Dean's is currently run by brothers Aaron and David Dean, sons of the late Joseph Dean, Jr. Joseph, who died in early December, was an integral part of the business after retiring from McAndrews-King GMC-Buick in 2007. The two brothers have stepped up to run the shop.
"We knew it's such an integral part of town and we wanted to keep it going," Aaron said. The shop is still housed in the original barn, though an addition in 2000 allowed the family more space.
The brothers run the shop alongside their other jobs -- David works full time as a police officer in Adams and Aaron works as a music teacher in Pittsfield elementary schools.
"We take after our father," Aaron said. "He always wore a lot of hats."
Joseph's record of civic engagement includes 36 years on the Board of Selectmen, several years on the Planning Board, two years as a Berkshire County commissioner and acted as Town Moderator until his death. He also served the Alert Hose Company for 48 years in various capacities. Along with his work in the community, Joseph worked as a sales representative at McAndrews-King GMC-Buick and the former Shapiro Chevrolet.
"He was on all kinds of boards and committees. He had a meeting almost every night," David said.
"That's the only time you'd see him leave early," Aaron added.
The shop is run by Aaron, David and full-time mechanic Jeremy Varno. David's wife Kathy does the shop's booking and billing and assists with customers.
Aaron and David said they've been surrounded by cars their whole lives.
"We learned as we grew," David said. David worked at the former Buster's Service Station before going to Shapiro Chevrolet and then McAndrews-King with his father; Aaron first worked on his own cars.
Aaron said the family's dedication to their customers has given them a strong customer base.
"Most of our customers are third or fourth generation," he said.
The brothers pointed out how cars have changed in the last several decades -- on-board computers have made cars more complicated to work on, so the brothers often take classes to stay up to speed on new technology.
But at Dean's, they said, the dedication to the customer has stayed the same. The brothers said their father often went above and beyond for the customer, which was evident on one freezing cold afternoon.
"Someone was stuck [in the Greylock Glen], in the mud, and came looking for help," Aaron said.
His father towed the vehicle out and put a new battery in. "He was even supposed to go out to dinner, but moved plans around to help.
Aaron added, "He would expect us to do for the customer what he would want done for him. He was always about working with customers, and always concerned that the job was done right."
To reach Edward Damon, email email@example.com.