If you stay in one place for 58 years two things are certain. People are going to know your name, and eventually, you’ll need to get up and move around.
Such is the case on the corner of 1st Avenue West and Highway 136, where after owning and operating Lyons Service Center for 58 years, Pat “Blackie” Lyons and his wife, Betty, are retiring.
The Lyons’ sold the business to Jake and Jackie McAllister, effective Friday. While it’s been called Lyons Service Center, Blackie’s and/or Pat’s, it’s official moniker moving forward is “Lyons Service Center, Towing and Recovery.”
The Lyons name remains, as do two other members of the Lyons family. Linda (Hoffman) Lyons will still be inside the store portion, while Randy Lyons will still wrench with the best of them in the garage.
Fifty-eight years is a long time for anybody, but Blackie enjoyed the work, as well as the opportunity to do it with his family. “As long as my health stayed good, I was OK with staying working,” he said. “Most days it was great working with (family) and, like most families, we just hashed it out about anything and everything.”
Betty said that suddenly having time for themselves will actually be a bit of an adjustment. “Most days we were together anyway, but not being at work will be an adjustment.”
She admits that the adjustment period is a nice issue to have. “We are going to Nashville in September. Owning a business that is open seven days a week, getting time off was a challenge.”
And of course, she will miss the extended family of the Cascade community. “We certainly appreciated the support of the community. With a small town, local support is very important and being in the same location for 58 years seems like a good accomplishment.”
Linda sees an “end” to the way things have been and said it will seem strange at first not having her parents around. “Most days it worked out well and there weren’t many issues. Lots of people don’t get to see their parents every day like we did, so it will be something to get used to, them not being here. I was lucky when my kids were babies, I could bring them to work, and they also worked here during high school and college. Dad always said he wished he would have wrote down all the kids who worked here, but it was a high number.”
Randy said he was appreciative of the opportunity working with family provided him. “Just getting to see them every day. Everyone is so busy with work and activities that most people do not get a chance to see their parents that often, but I was blessed to see mine nearly every day.”
The conversations among the regulars may remain pretty much the same, but now it just might include Blackie stopping in to share his latest fishing story. After all, after 58 years on the job, he’s earned the right to tell a few.