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Photos: Groves Ready To Retire After 50 Years In Auto Repair

An auto mechanic who's been fixing cars in downtown Bloomington for more than 50 years will soon be looking under the hood for the last time.

Fred Groves is closing the service center he's owned since 1968. He bought the former DX Servicenter he had managed starting in 1964.

Groves said keeping up with automotive technology has been a constant learning experience. He said the cost of fixing these computers on wheels contributed to his decision to retire.

“It makes it harder and harder,” Groves said. “The days of a person working on their own car are gone. You can’t work on them without electrical equipment. You almost have to be an electrician to work on them.”  

Groves Servicenter front
Credit Amy Niebur / WGLT
Fred Groves bought the former DX Servicenter in downtown Bloomington in 1968.

Groves said he'll miss his customers and staff most of all. He said it's been rewarding work, but it's time to call it a career.

“It’s just kind of an achievement to go to work each day and coming home knowing that you did something that day,” Groves said. “To take that away and to look for something else to do with your day is going to be a learning curve.”

He joked that wife Sandy Groves will help fill his schedule. She will be retiring for a second time, after retiring from Illinois State University as its director of Graduate Studies in 2007. They married in 2003.

“I know I’m not going to ever have any problem with what I am going to do with my time when I retire,” she said. “There’s just simple things like being able to read a book that I would love to be able to do, because right now those are things I can’t do as long as I’m working full time.”

The service center hosted an open house on Friday. The business will stay open in April from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays only to close out the books and sell its more than two dozen used cars.

Groves put the building up for sale.

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Eric Stock is a reporter at WGLT.