One-man show

Glenn Arbuckle

By Meredith J. Cooper

Chico native Glenn Arbuckle is the owner and sole employee of Arbuckle’s Auto Repair, located in a large reddish-brown Quonset hut on Park Avenue marked with a simple, hand-painted wooden sign that says, succinctly, “Arbuckle’s Auto Repair.” One sign inside his shop reads: “Sarcasm: One of the free services I offer.” Another offers: “Welcome to my garage—Not just a parking space but a world-class destination.” A salty (but also sweet) man, Arbuckle is known for his fair, “old-school” dealings with his numerous regular customers, like charging only five dollars for a job for which any other mechanic might charge six times that. He considers it a “professional courtesy” to his steady customers to charge them what he considers a fair price, especially if “it didn’t take that long to do it, and five bucks seemed the appropriate price.” Plus, as he sensibly and honestly sees it, “if you’re a steady customer, I figure you’ll be back with other, bigger stuff.” Arbuckle is “related to Arbuckle"—as in the town just off of I-5 near Williams. “He and Williams came out west together,” he said.

How long have you been in the auto repair business?

In this business for 16, coming on 17 years. In the service station business before that. I had gas and gas pumps and a big corporation over my head, and I didn’t want to deal with them any more. This business is stressful, too, though. Rent’s going up and they want liability insurance and so much money for this and that. Oh, Jesus!

Why don’t you have any other employees?

I don’t need any more bureaucracy in my back pocket, like workman’s comp, paying half their Social Security, insurance.

How long do you think you’ll keep doing this?

Probably three more years and then it’ll probably be time to get out—if not sooner.

And just retire?


So, how is the Arbuckle that the town is named after related to you?

It’d be a great-great-great uncle, I believe. He came out in the late 1800s.

How long have you been in Chico?

Sixty-one years. I’m a Chico native. I’m an old guy.