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Constantly changing is good for this business

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[April 29, 2008]  On a Saturday morning, friends and co-owners Rick Farney and Darren Haberland get ready for another day of changes. The two, who own and operate the Four Corners Lube business at 1101 Woodlawn, across from the Logan County Fairgrounds, have known each other for 25 years and have been business partners for just over two years. For them and their business, changing oil is a good business but not the only thing they do to make their business profitable.

Although this is their first private venture, both have a strong background in all things mechanical. Farney was a farm manager for Cross Farms for 22 years, and Haberland spent 30 years working for a John Deere business before they decided to become business partners.

As Farney brings up the computer screen for the day's activities, employees Jerry McCain and Shawn Awe move the array of Dixon mowers out on the drive. The Dixon franchise, with riding mowers that brag cutting decks from 30 inches to 72 inches, is just another way the team looks to keep the business going.

Explaining that their business is service-oriented, Farney stated that they also service all models of mowers and offer pickup and delivery to customers in the area.

The oil change business is a constant for the store, but they also offer other mechanical work for vehicle owners. Tire rotation, transmission, radiator and fuel system flushes also are done at Four Corners Lube, along with belt and hose replacement and air filters, which are a commonly overlooked maintenance item by customers. Serpentine belts and air filters are the items most frequently overlooked by motorists, according to Haberland. A failed belt can lead to a breakdown, and an air filter in poor condition can lead to poor performance and reduced gas mileage.

An observer can sense that there is no high-pressure selling at Four Corners. Free vehicle inspections at the time of an oil change can point out other potential problems or recommendations for maintenance work, but nothing is done without explaining the work and the cost to the driver beforehand. "We tell them what we find, but it's always up to them if they want us to do it," Farney said.

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The business also has expanded its base by building on a new, larger service bay that allows them to service buses, RVs, grain trucks and other vehicles that also require maintenance. "We have a lot of farmer business here, and the bigger bay for servicing those larger trucks has turned out to be a really good idea," Farney explained.

There are no appointments required and the entire staff takes pride in getting a driver in and out as fast as possible, but vehicle owners aren't treated like they have just pulled in for a pit stop in a race.

Although the service is always fast and friendly, there is always time for a client to share a few stories with Rick and Darren as they wait for their vehicle to be done. Like the old-time shops before numbers were hung on vehicle mirrors, the entire crew at Four Corners brings a personable, direct approach to servicing that reminds one of the golden age when gas stations used to offer maintenance help. Now, businesses such as Four Corners Lube take care of making sure your car or truck will stay faithful as it goes down the road. Although Four Corners changes motorists' oil, the business has kept as a constant its personal, honest service. That will never change. Not at Four Corners Lube.


Readers can find more of Mike Fak's writing at www.searchwarp.com and www.problogs.com.

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