Huckstep's Garage; A Free Union Institution Closes its Doors
An Albemarle County landmark is closing its doors. Huckstep's Garage has been serving customers in Free Union since the 1940s. The garage started servicing cars, trucks, and farm equipment back in 1946 and the business has stayed in the family ever since.
But on Friday, that all came to an end, and not by choice.
Carol McIntosh, one of Huckstep's customers said, "It's a good place to come if you suddenly need a little service like a flat tire or something like that."
Long time customers are helping the Hucksteps clear out their body shop. After 65 years serving the Free Union area, the garage is closing up shop.
Downtown Free Union really isn't that big to begin with. There's a country store, a post office, a gas station, and Huckstep's Garage, so people who live here say its closing is a big deal.
Keith Morris, another customer added, "It's going to hurt the community, not only me but everybody who's in the area."
While the Hucksteps themselves did not want to speak with us on camera, friends and customers say recent financial troubles did the shop in. In the last couple of weeks, neighbors started a petition pleading with the landlord to keep the shop open. Some even offered to help pay bills.
"It's my understanding that more than one member of the community was willing to step in and make sure that those financial concerns would be met by friends and neighbors," said McIntosh.
"We've tried and tried to get the landlord to let him stay, but I think some other people have been trying but we don't know what's going to happen," explained another loyal customer, Trenton Bailey.
There's a clearer picture of what's going to happen outside the shop. Friday was the last scheduled business day and workers took down the signage that's adorned the building since the 1940s.
"We're gonna miss this place," said Bailey.
From here, nobody's quite sure if the shop will open up elsewhere or if this is it. The Hucksteps hope their landlord eventually has a change of heart.