BARSTOW — It’s Monday morning and vehicles are lined up in the parking lot next to Barstow Tire and Brake.
Customers needing their vehicle worked on fill the waiting room and owner Leonard Purdy helps man at the front counter. When it calms down a little bit, Purdy is able to retreat inside the office. But he can’t settle down at his desk for too long. A special guest arrives.
“Oh God, what do you got there girl?” Purdy asks Miss Teen Barstow 2013 Nicole Gutierrez.
“I brought you your favorite cookies,” Gutierrez says, setting down three plates, one containing muffins.
“Isn’t that nice, Miss Teen Barstow bringing me cookies,” Purdy says. “Nicole is going to be the next Miss Barstow.“
Special guests and smiling customers are nothing new at Barstow Tire and Brake. One special guest walked away so impressed with the Barstow business, that she made sure the State of California recognized Purdy.
On June 16, state Sen. Jean Fuller from the 18th District honored Barstow Tire and Brake as the small business of the year in Sacramento. Purdy was among 75 other small business owners who were honored at an awards ceremony that also featured 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers as the guest speaker.
“She (Sen. Fuller) called me a month ago, sometime in May, to tell me I won her district award,” Purdy said. “I’m still trying to figure out how in the world I got nominated.
“They (Sen. Fuller) stopped by here (Barstow in September) and a group of people told her to stop by Barstow Tire and Brake and meet Leonard Purdy. She walked around the shop and I talked with her for awhile. She saw all my awards and she left. She told me how much she was impressed with how I ran my business.“
Leaving positive impressions with people is nothing new for Purdy. It’s how his father taught him to run a business. His father, Henry Purdy, ran Purdy’s Pool Hall just a half block from the Barstow Tire and Brake location in the 1940s.
“I learned all my business from him,” Purdy said. “Mainly honesty and taking care of the customer and mainly pleasing the customer. It seems like if you do those things, they will stay with you. I have customers that have stayed with me for years and years. When they come back and trust you, that’s what it’s all about."