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Friday, June 21, 2024

When I go on vacation, I like to scour Yelp and other websites to find local businesses and attractions that are unique to the places I visit. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Often, though, we overlook the gems in our own city. And in this town, as small as it may be, we have quite a few unique businesses.

To read all of part one, click here

Kind Auto Repair

Kind Auto Repair

Like seeing a double rainbow stretch all the way across the sky, finding an honest mechanic is a wondrous experience.

Von Ruder, 52, has been a certified master mechanic since 1986. After taking a break from running his own business and branching out into other fields, he restarted Kind Auto Repair, LLC, about a year ago.

“It’s my sadhana, my path,” said Ruder, whose friends call him Aspen. “It’s what I have to give back to the world: honest auto repair.”

Ruder said he left his last job at a corporate repair shop when the manager made a remark about the sexual orientation of a customer. That was the last straw for him. He said he came home that day and decided he would have to make it work on his own.

So far, business has been going well for him. If he had more space, he said he could serve twice as many customers. But even without the extra space, he’s been fixing about 30 cars per week — more than he ever did at a corporate shop.

Customers can find him on Facebook.

If a customer brings his or her own oil and oil filter, he offers the oil change for free. He also offers to inspect a car for free before someone buys it. He’ll offer advice or an opinion over the phone in the middle of the night if one of his customers is stalled out in rural Alabama.

He said one thing that he really enjoys is coming up with creative solutions to problems when customers don’t have a lot of money for expensive repairs.

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Parks Place Tim & Terry’s

Tim and Terry's

A banjo, a porno and a Four Loko, you can buy that here.

Or maybe you’d prefer live bait, pickled pig’s feet and a one-of-a-kind guitar, handmade right here in Gainesville. Yes, you can buy that here, too.

It’s an eclectic place that would make Dante and Randal envious.

“We’re a bait and tackle, convenience store, music shop, U-Haul renter and soon-to-be restaurant,” Jesse Sanchez said with a smile.

The 25-year-old employee has been working there for more than three years. He rings up customers, handles minor guitar repairs and loads up live fish bait.

The owner, Terry Parks, is well known among musicians in town, Sanchez said. He owned Tim and Terry’s on Northwest 1st Avenue, which is now closed.

Most people use the Parks Place location, at 102 NW 39th Avenue, as a convenience store, but sometimes people come in and jam out on the instruments.

“One of the best musicians I’ve ever heard was this old, homeless lady who used to come in and play piano,” Sanchez said. “She’d play for 30 to 40 minutes, and I’d give her a four-pack.”

If you now have “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” in your head, you’re welcome.

All photos courtesy of Charlene Hewitt. 

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