A notable business along Lougheed Highway will close next month after operating in Maple Ridge for more than 40 years.
Lougheed Tire Sales and Service, at the corner of Laity Street, also known as “hospital corner,” is closing down in early January after the property was sold to B.C. investors for commercial purposes.
“We have to be out of here by Jan. 7,” said Lougheed Tire owner Gerri Murell.
She along with husband Ray Murrell have run the business since it opened in 1976.
“It’s been great. We’ve been here 40-plus years,” Gerri said.
Ray retired 11 years ago, leaving Gerri to run the store, with the help of two current employees, Kaleb Rawling and Nolan Bailey.
“So I’ve been running the show for the last almost 11 years. We make it work,” Gerri said.
For Gerri, closing down and heading to retirement, where she plans to keep busy volunteering, is not a major event.
People retire every day, she added.
“It’s been good … but it’s time.”
She will miss the people.
The shop doesn’t favour any particular make of tire, but can service any vehicle.
“Whatever you need,” said Gerri. “We can sell you just about anything you want.”
The passing of the four decades in the tire business is on the walls and furniture. Old hockey photos and clippings adorn the walls. A paper invoice sits on the Arborite counter and nearby is a pile of National Geographics.
The office isn’t online, however.
There is no computer and no website, only a fax machine and Gerri’s old flip phone.
“I’m old school. You’re in Jurassic Park here,” Gerri said.
She can operate her business just fine without computers.
“I’ve got pen and paper. If I make a mistake, I can see where I made a mistake, whereas a computer is only as good as the person pushing the button. And if you and I are talking and I push the wrong button, all hell breaks loose.
“I leave a big paper trail.”
On the wall are several Readers’ Choice and A-List awards that show the appreciation of her customers.
“We’ve got seven of them, so we must have been doing something right.”
The premises include an adjoining building used for storage and a shed where inner tubes can be purchased for floating down the South Alouette River in the summer.
One of the business’s trade marks is the metal statue made out of wheel rims that’s been standing in the parking lot for two decades.
Her son made that about 25 years ago when he was in high school, but it now also sports two bird feeders.
There used to be three statues at some point but they gradually fell apart.
The last one likely will be scrapped when the doors close next month.