Biwers retire after 38 years of selling auto parts
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Val Biwer said the years have breezed by.
To be precise, it was more than 38 years ago when her friend and neighbor Clifford Kelly was the first paying customer at City Motor Parts.
At closing time on Wednesday, Kelly was also the last customer to receive an invoice from Bill and Val Biwer.
“It’s bittersweet,” Bill and Val both said Wednesday, almost simultaneously.
The Biwers opened up City Motor Parts in January of 1982, at 610 S. Main St. in Charles City. The couple, who both grew up in Charles City, owned and operated the business until Sept. 30, 2016, when they sold it to Arnold Motor Supply. They stayed on as managers for exactly four more years, and officially retired at the end of the day Wednesday.
“We enjoy the community. It’s been good to us, we’ve tried to be good in return,” Val said.
Cake, brownies and other goodies were available to anyone who came into the store Wednesday. There will be a drive-thru retirement party for the Biwers on Oct. 10, when regular customers can take a minute to thank and congratulate them.
“You don’t have a successful business without good customers, and we’re really going to miss all the good ones we’ve gotten to know here,” Bill said.
The store carries a full-line of automotive repair parts for the professional service provider and the do-it-yourselfer; and also has access to full-line machine shop services.
Val said that although customer service hasn’t changed, the way business is conducted has seen a lot of changes in 38 years. She said that when the Biwers started, there were no computers, everything was hand-written, and information was kept on card files.
“Now we just push a couple buttons and the parts are ordered,” she said.
Val said that her children — and now her grandchildren — all grew up in Charles City. She said that when the store first opened, they would push the kids around in strollers on the site. Now she and Bill will be able to spend more time with their grandkids.
“We really want to thank the community for all their support over the years,” Val said. “It’s good to retire, it’s time, but we have a lot of good memories.”