Five questions for Filson's owner
Usually man's best friend plays the role of greeter at home, but at Eastern Tire & Auto Service in Rockland customers get a special welcome from a well-known black Lab named Filson.
"People don't care about me, they care about Filson," said co-owner Alvin Chase Jr.
"I'm spoiled," said Chase explaining that he has always had Labs as pets. When he lost two old-timers (14 and 15 years old) within weeks of each other a couple years ago, Chase said he waited a year before getting 17-month-old Filson.
"He's an important part of the family," said Chase, who appreciates his flexibility in his job to be able to bring his sidekick to work every day. Chase said customers stop by and take Filson for walks or enjoy a visit with him while their car repair is being done.
Chase has run Eastern Tire on Park Street in Rockland since 1989, when he came home from college to help his father for a few months while he dealt with some health issues.
Eastern Tire has been in Rockland since 1946. His grandfather purchased and ran the business in the 1940s, '50s and '60s prior to his father, Alvin Chase Sr., purchasing it in the mid-70s. Chase now runs it with his brother Aaron.
The third-generation owner took a few moments to answers these five questions:
How did you learn about automotive repair?
"I came home for six months in January 1989 -- and here I am," said Chase. "I have an undergraduate degree in Public Administration and a Master's Degree in Business. I interned at a hospital for a bit and thought that was where I was going. Now after 27 years in customer service I have a degree in psychology."
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
"We have a phenomenal customer base that covers generations. In fact, we have one family now that we are serving their fourth generation. Building relationships. We are in business to feed our families as much as we are in business to service the community. We support Trekkers, Broadreach, the new YMCA that is coming to town, and many other programs. This is a great place to raise your family -- there's something for everybody."
How did you get involved in the Georges River Land Trust?
"I grew up in Martinsville and spent countless hours on the river, and I don't want this place to change. In September my term as Board President will be up and I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty again."
You have horses. Do you have a farm as well?
"Yes, it's called Dream Chaser. I think it is my second midlife crisis. My first was getting my Harley. Yesterday we bailed 900 bails of hay ... I'm too old for that, but I love my horses.
What is a Garage Gallery?
"Well, my grandfather and I had collected some artwork and we had too much for our homes, so we brought some in here for decoration. People would much rather look at artwork than shocks and brakes. There is also a group of 'Lively Ladies' who exhibit their paintings here. The group of nine ladies are in their 70s to 90s and have been exhibiting here for about 10 years. They change it out quarterly and we have an opening night. We've never had less than 70 people at our openings."
If you have a candidate for Five Questions, email Beth A. Birmingham at email@example.com.