Local garage, car dealer celebrates 30 years

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sonny and Sue Ann Helms are celebrating 30 years in business at S&D Garage and Auto Sales.

Sonny and Sue Ann Helms are celebrating 30 years in business at S&D Garage and Auto Sales.

S&D Garage and Auto Sales owners Sonny and Sue Ann Helms are celebrating 30 years of business and service to the people of Covington County.

The garage opened up in September 1985 and was just a small three-bay garage beside B&C Auto Parts. The garage expanded in March 1997, when the sewing factory closed.

“We purchased our current location (806 River Falls St.) when the sewing factory closed,” Sue Ann said. “We built a five-bay garage behind the auto sales office, in addition to the three that we already had.”

For 30 years, S&D has been offering their customers dependable service, they said.

“It doesn’t seem like it has been 30 years,” Sonny said. “Time has really flown by.”

Time flies by when you are doing something you love.

“He is doing what he loves,” Sue Ann said. “He has being doing it his whole life. It’s in his blood, I guess you could say. His dad was always mechanically minded, and when he was 4, his dad would have him outside changing spark plugs.”

Sue Ann said Sonny has always had a love for working on cars.

“I use to keep count of all cars he had, but once we started this I lost count,” Sue Ann said. “He was over 100 when I quit counting. I would never know what he was going to come home with. He would drive a different car or truck home nearly every day. He would work on them for a little while, and then trade them for another one. It’s his passion.”

That is the same passion that Sonny brings to his business and to his customer service that has allowed it to thrive for 30 years.

“My passion is serving the public and working on cars,” Sonny said. “We couldn’t do this without loyal customers. Our No. 1 rule is taking care of the customer.”

Those loyal customers are Sonny’s favorite part about owning the garage.

“My favorite part of the business is meeting and associating with the customers,” Sonny said. “I get to meet a lot of different people through this, and that has always been my favorite part.”

The garage currently has four full-time auto technicians.

“We are so proud to say that we have been blessed to have such a positive group of qualified technicians,” Sue Ann said. “They work very hard, striving to please our customers and do their job well.”

Sue Ann said that their technicians can do just about any types of repairs, minor to major. They will also replace transmissions, engines, radiators, water pumps, work on air conditioning and DOT inspections on company trucks.

“We have the latest software to scan and diagnose most makes and models of vehicles,” Sue Ann said. “We can service your engine and transmission, there is really not much too mechanically that we can’t do to a vehicle.”

Along with operating a full-time garage, the Helms also sale cars at the same location.

“We have a good selection of used vehicles for sale,” Sue Ann said. “We normally stock around 40 to 60 units. Sonny stays very busy going to the auctions to purchase units.”