AUBURN - “Work hard and be good to people.” Those are the words by which the Fuller family has built a comprehensive automotive enterprise that will be celebrating one hundred years in business all during 2014.
When it comes to an individual’s automotive needs, convenience is of utmost importance. That is something that can be hard to come by in today’s world. It seems that in order to get things done, we are often sent from one place to another. Not so at Fuller Automotive, where co-owner Chris Fuller believes customers should not be inconvenienced when it comes to their automotive needs.
Chris and his brother Joshua are the fourth generation in the Fuller family which has spent the past 100 years building a business that caters to the diverse array of needs that customers have when it comes to their cars. “We offer services from the very first stage of car ownership to the last legs,” said Chris. “We have a sales department offering a fleet of every type of car, a speedy oil change department, full mechanical repair service, tire center, towing operation, a state-of-the-art collision center, and car rental - all parts of a complete ownership cycle.”
It all began back in 1914 when Willis Fuller began repairing cars in Worcester after making a living repairing horse-drawn buggies. Before long, he had opened the Fuller Garage. It wasn’t nearly as large as today’s business, owned by his great-grandsons, but it was the start of the Fuller enterprise. In the 30s he moved the business to Auburn. A decade later his son Freeman decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into the mechanic’s business himself. He wanted to be his own man, though, and started a separate shop, Fuller Automotive. The two stayed in a friendly, family competition for a time.
In 1963, Freeman’s son Richard followed the family tradition and took up working for his dad, after attending college in Ohio. Eventually, the two family businesses were meshed into one larger business: Fuller Automotive. The business was located on Auburn Street in Auburn until 1991, when growth required an expansion to the current location, a three-acre site at 505 Washington Street (Rt. 20).
In November of last year Fuller Automotive expanded again with the addition of Fuller's Pre-Owned Autos of Auburn, located adjacent to the existing facility, at 509 Washington Street. Chris explained that the family had owned two auto dealerships in the past, but got out of that business because “our vision of how to service and sell to people didn't match up with corporate America.” But their customers convinced them to go into the pre-owned car business because they wanted to deal with Fuller from beginning to end.
Today, one-hundred years later, Fuller Automotive is under the ownership of Richard's sons Chris, a graduate of Assumption College, and Joshua, a Bentley College grad. The brother team has stayed tried and true to their father’s, grandfather's and great-grandfather's visions. “We think that it is of utmost importance to offer reliable and cost-effective services to the drivers who come to see us. We run all of our departments with one goal: to earn the trust and respect of our customers,” said Chris. “Our father's motto was 'work hard and be good to people.'
“Management and business fads come and go, and businesses can follow the sales tactic of the decade. But I think none of that can outweigh simply caring about people, and that has led to our consistent success over the years. And it applies to all areas of life.”
To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the Fuller brothers and their stand-up staff have organized some great opportunities for customers, old and new, to join them in their success. Each month, for the whole year, customers can stop in, whether having services performed or not, to register for that month’s prize.
Additionally, Fuller Automotive will continue in its tradition of connecting with the community by offering extra clinics over the course of the year. Some of the clinics will include CPR classes, a General Safety course, and a course in Car Seat Safety. Fuller Automotive has always tried to promote and support the community, and for years has sponsored a variety of sports teams in Auburn, including the Little League and Pop Warner. This year’s special celebration will give the Fuller Brothers and their staff an even better opportunity to serve the community, noted Chris.
The new pre-owned auto business is headed by Dana Stoico, who has over thirty years in the automotive sales business. It offers a sizable selection of foreign and domestic cars and light trucks. And once you’ve purchased your vehicle from them, Chris reminds us that you won’t have far to go for any type of service that vehicle might need. With ASE Certified mechanics, any repair –from bumper to bumper- can be performed in their service garage. You can also just stop in for routine service as well, like a super-quick “SpeeDee” oil change. Need new tires? No problem! The Fullers are authorized dealers for Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelley tires, among others. And of course, if the worst should happen and your car is damaged, Fuller’s has its own Auto Body and Collision Center. It really is a one stop shop for all of your automotive needs. Their website www.fullerautomotive.com lists all of their services, along with an interesting history of the family business.
If you stop in for your next service or to register for one of their monthly drawings, be sure to congratulate Chris and Josh on the 100th anniversary of Fuller Automotive, and wish them continued success. It isn’t too often a business is good enough to stay successful for such a long time. It is a testament to lots of hard work, dedication and trustworthiness. Congratulations to Fuller Automotive.
The fifth-generation Fullers are still much too young to consider the family business. “We'll have to see what they do,” said Chris.