Flushing Auto Repair Shop Celebrates 83 Years

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Great Bear Auto Repair and Body Services in Flushing marked its 83rd anniversary Saturday with a celebration and barbecue.

The event also promoted the work and accomplishments of Women Auto Know, a non-profit started in 2009 by Audra Fordin, the fourth-generation owner of the repair shop.She works to educate female drivers on the intricacies of automobiles to increase their knowledge when taking cars to repair shops.

A fierce rainstorm failed to dampen the spirits of the attendees at the barbecue, held at the auto shop at 164-16 Sanford Ave. The crowd included friends, community members and student volunteers from Lincoln Tech School and Edison Automotive. Fordin said she organized the barbecue as a way for people from different facets of the automotive community to meet each other. .

“Everyone’s coming together, not to show their brand, but for the philosophy,” Fordin said.

She pointed out eight different workstations meant to offer attendees quick courses in automotive knowledge and self-help. The stations were named after bodily systems, with the “heart” section referring to the engine and the section on the “circulatory system” referring to necessary automotive fluids. Fordin said the point of Women Auto Know was to “educate, not intimidate” women who may not have been previously exposed to automotive education with a hands-on approach.

“You can touch, feel and smell,” she said, pointing out tires that attendees could grab to feel the subtle differences for themselves. “The point here is to educate.”

Women Auto Know offers free monthly repair workshops for women about auto maintenance that could be done without taking the vehicle to a shop, in addition to giving those who take the class practical knowledge about what their automobile needs when it is brought in for repairs. Barbara Gillespie and her mother Helen were two of the guests at the barbecue, and Helen had taken a class at Women Auto Know. She said the classes were revelatory for her, as she did not previously have automotive experience.

“I feel very comfortable going in there,” she said, praising Fordin’s approach. “She explains everything under your hood, and what you could do on your own.”

Alexander Zuyagin was one of the students from Lincoln Tech on hand to supervise the eight stations for the event. The head of the honor guard at the school, he said all of the tips offered during the course of the barbecue were geared toward preventative maintenance.

“A lot of times, people come in when it’s too late,” he said, while hiding from the downpour under a tent set up in the center of the repair shop’s parking lot. “People have to know what systems are involved and if there are home remedies that can help.”

This article originally appeared on timesledger.com

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