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Closing in on a century

Business lasts by putting customers first

Flood’s Automotive Sales owner Roy Wilson stands proudly in his garage. He has worked in the family-owned shop for 57 years. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
January 02, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — There is a reason why Flood's Automotive Sales has been around for 91 years.

While sitting in the waiting area, owner Roy Wilson talks to everyone and knows nearly all of them by their first name. He introduces people as "loyal customers."

"If a customer has a need, we take care of it," said Wilson, 75. "I went to Worcester this morning to get a part for a customer. It's the reason we are still in business. We enjoy doing it. Customer service is what we focus on the most. That's the reason why we've stayed in business for so long."

Founded in 1919 by Calvin Wilson and J.V. Flood, Flood's Automotive Sales has been a fixture in town at 93 Hamilton St. Wilson and Flood parted ways in 1929 and Wilson kept the business and its name. "Everyone knows the name of the place, so why fix it?" said Wilson.

An only child, Roy began working at the shop at age 12. The only time he has spent away from the shop was a four-year stint in the Army. He was stationed at Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas and Royan, France from 1955-58, where he worked on diesel engines. Roy's son, Bryan, is one of the shop's mechanics and daughter-in-law, Donna, is the receptionist.

The building was originally built as a tarpaper shack, as was common at the time. Subsequent updates to the building have continued to this very day. The stone pillar that is the base of the shop's sign has been there since it's opening. They have taken advantage of the town's Community Block Grant Program, which allows them to pay 25 percent of the grant up front with the other 75 percent deferred over the next 10 years.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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