Gary Decker outside the auto parts business he’s owned and operated in Whalley for three decades. Friday, April 30 was his final day of business before retirement. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Gary Decker outside the auto parts business he’s owned and operated in Whalley for three decades. Friday, April 30 was his final day of business before retirement. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

AUTOMOTIVE

VIDEO: Retiring Surrey auto parts dealer recalls a century of family business

Gary Decker operated his Whalley shop for 31 years

After “growing up in a wrecking yard” and spending his life in the auto business, Gary Decker says it’s time for him to motor into retirement.

The Decker’s Auto Parts owner/operator will close the doors of his Whalley shop for the final time Friday (April 30), after 31 years in the area.

The current Decker’s, on 104th Avenue, replaced a King George Highway store ruined by fire in 1995.

“It’s been quite a ride, but it’s time to call it a day,” Decker said on his final day of work. “I’ve been doing six days a week, 10 hours a day, so it’s time to have a life. I haven’t been away on a holiday since 2001, for anything more than three days.”

Decker’s family has been in the auto business for nearly a century, starting in Burnaby, and he says it’s been an honour to continue the auto-business legacy of his father and grandfather before him.

His older brother runs the Decker’s repair shop in Burnaby.

On Friday, Decker answered some final calls for parts, talked with longtime customers and sorted through some business-related keepsakes, including a bank book from the 1920s and old photos.

“It’s busy, so it’s sort of a bad time to shut down now – busier than it was,” he said.

“But the business has changed, with everything online and so many more stores out there. I’ve seen lots of part stores come in, but they’re gone and I’m still here, until now, so I guess I did something right.”

Meantime, a few blocks away, Whalley’s Round Up Cafe was also due to close Friday after more than 60 years of serving food.

Said Decker: “The Vancouver Auto Parts place behind there, on 135A (Street), bought my phone number and all the inventory, so it’s all going there. I told him, ‘You have to look after my customers that have been coming here for years,’ so they’ll be taken care of.

“I’m taking all the collectibles home,” he added. “Those are coming with me – all the diecast cars, posters, photos and calendars.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2017: Retirement time for Surrey’s long-established ‘Tom the Tire Guy’



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Auto Repair and MaintenanceAutomotive

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read