The History of Willands Tech Auto

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In the 1930's, Olve and Frances Willand owned a garage in Tioga, North Dakota. The winter temperatures could tumble to 46-below, and vehicles brought into the garage would drip water onto the floor and freeze. Each day a ton of coal was used to keep the place warm. Olve then decided to move west. They arrived in Ferndale, Washington on December 22, 1936. Shortly after Olve began working at Jewell Motors, where he stayed for only two months. May 1, 1937, Olve Willand opened his own business, Willand's Service, consisting of a gas station and car repair services. Willand's Service was located on the corner of Third Street and Vista where Little Caesar's Pizza is located today. He sold gas for 20 cents per gallon and oil for 50 cents per gallon. His first month of business brought in $26.00. Six months later he bought an Electric Welder, the only one in the town of Ferndale. Soon after he began to make tractors out of old car and truck frames.

In 1939 he moved his business location across the street to the present location of the Faith Bible Community Church. At the time, Olve's business, called Willands Garage, was only an auto repair shop. Rent was $15.00 per month and labor for a mechanic was $1.50 an hour. A grease job was 50 cents, batteries $3.00, and tires were sold for $4.75 each. During the first year Olve and his brother Ruben worked together. In November 1939 the building and land was purchased. In 1941 an addition was made to the back of the building for a blacksmith shop, and in October of 1958, another addition was made and the front of the shop was remodeled into an auto parts store. For eleven years it was operated as Willand's Auto Parts in conjunction with Willand's Garage.

In 1969 Olve sold the parts store to S&H Auto Parts and retired to the farm on Mt. View Road in Ferndale. From the year 1926, when he first trained at Hanson Auto Shop in Fargo, North Dakota, saw great changes, from the simple basic engine, to the complex electric and computerized high performance engines.

Olve's son Ron Willand worked full time in his father's shop beginning June 1st, 1963. Ron bought the business from his father on March 1st, 1965. He bought the land behind the parts store and built a new building and on April 1, 1967, Ron re-opened Willand's Garage for business, where the business resides today. After 82 years of Willand business, Ron worked 55 years, first as a mechanic, then owner and manager. As business grew, this expansion brought the need for a larger facility, and in 1994 Ron changed the name to Willands Tech Auto and purchased the adjoining building to better accommodate customers with a new waiting room facing Vista Drive, also making extra room for new office staff and employees.

Throughout the 2000's Willands Tech Auto continued to advance the reliability of the vehicles of Whatcom county, keeping up with computer diagnostics and automotive trends toward green technology awhile making a conscious effort to inform customers of the importance of maintaining their vehicle. With the rise in population of Ferndale it is imperative to keep vehicles maintained to minimize the environmental concerns and impact.

June 1st, of 2019 Ron retired and Lead Technician Chris Atkinson and his brother Marcus Martin acquired Willands Tech-Auto from Ron, continuing the name as well as the longtime legacy of honest and reliable service to the families of Whatcom county. Chris and Marcus were born and raised here in Ferndale. Focused on customer care and keeping up to date on modern automotive technology, they are excited to dive in and be apart of Ferndale's business community. Keeping the same values and staff as before Willands Tech Auto will remain a family owned invested part of Whatcom county.

Introducing our crew, Owner and Lead Technician Christopher Atkinson is an ASE certified technician graduating with honors from UTI, specializing in US vehicles, Japanese, and European imports, factory trained by Volvo and Nissan. Owner Marcus Martin is Ford dealer trained, focusing on customer service and maintaining the life of your vehicle. Marcus also has a vibrant tenacity for entrepreneurship and community service, a much needed spark in the automotive industry. Their family also owns a restaurant in Bellingham called Fat Shack and will be opening another one in Pioneer Square in Seattle by the end of 2019, so they know what it takes to provide the best customer experiences possible, no matter what. Technician Spike Anderson is ASE certified and brings 30 plus years of experience and longevity specializing in Air Conditioning, US and Asian vehicles, engine, and general preventative maintenance. Service Writer Darrell Holt, has been in the diesel automotive industry for 4 1/2 years. With a love for people, you can expect superior customer service and a caring attention to you and your vehicle's condition. With great concern and care for up to date maintenance items and worry free confidence you will enjoy driving your vehicle knowing it is well taken care of. Office Assistant, Eileen Winton (youngest of the Ron Willand's children) will greet you at the front desk with a smile and cheerful conversation, taking care of administration. Willands Tech-Auto is proud to offer our customers environmentally safe products and services of recycling of anti-freeze, oil, and oil filters. Backed by our 12 month 12,000 mile warranty.

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