By Lee Wardlaw
Eco-friendly COVE SPRINGS – The indication outside of Emmitt’s Vehicle Fix on U.S. Freeway 17 tells motorists the store is on family vacation. The iconic automobile maintenance shop specializing in brakes, steering and suspension set to reopen on Jan. 3.
But for the first time in 50 a long time – 22 of them north of city boundaries, it will be in the fingers of a new operator.
During a extra than half-century run in Duval and Clay counties, Emmitt’s noticed a blessed time of enterprise and relatives-pleasant provider to buyers at the shop, with the Rigsby’s developing a business enterprise product like no other in the course of their time in North Florida.
With Teresa Rigsby heading into retirement, she determined to convert the organization more than to somebody else. Leaving a legacy that took generations to create, nevertheless, will not be easy.
Adhering to the passing of her partner, Teresa not only experienced to run the store’s funds but she was thrust into a basic manager’s role, as properly.
She now will wade by way of a day-by-day healing system though continuing to expend precious time with her grandchildren.
“One working day at a time, and my grandkids,” she reported.
It will be up to the new operator to preserve a standard that took decades to develop.
The name that founder Emmitt Rigsby, who then handed the torch to his son, Matthew, proven was that of tricky do the job, toughness and a perception in receiving the task finished at all charges.
When mechanic Matthew Rigsby died on Aug. 3, 2020, the county not only misplaced a wonderful mechanic but a bigger-than-lifetime determine in the neighborhood whose memory will permanently be remembered.
He served as the lifeblood of the auto fix store his persona shone through at all times. He was superior at correcting a car, and no matter of the conditions, he normally was straightforward about the standing of their trip – all although locating a way to enable his basic-reduce, and brutally genuine, persona to glow by way of.
“It was his way, or no way,” Teresa Rigsby, his late spouse, said laughingly.
Hundreds of people Have walked inside the doorways of the automobile store. A person of the longtime customers has been the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, which will get all of its frequently-scheduled alignments done there.
Prospects came from all around Florida and out of point out, Teresa reported. Emmitt drew this sort of a cult pursuing that 1 resident who moved to Louisiana would make the vacation back to have his vehicle serviced at Emmitt’s.
“Matt was quite experienced. He knew almost everything heading on in that shop. He touched each car or truck and produced positive it was correct when it went out of the driveway,” she mentioned. “(The community) believed in him.”
Citizens have trusted in Rigsby’s car information, but it was a phenomenon that went a lot deeper than acquiring a clean established of wheels on the highway.
“My husband was challenging, and he ran a tight ship. But everyone came to him for guidance, and almost everything that he explained was like liquid gold. Shoppers would just arrive and pour out their hearts to him, and he would consider the time to speak to them. They would appear to him for almost everything, even loved ones problems.
They appreciated his boldness. They realized the place he stood, and they liked it,” Rigsby said.
New possession will have the profit of keeping two of Emmitt’s major mechanics. Lead technician Rick Santillo and mechanic John Holmes will be retained as the organization moves into a new era of giving rapid, helpful and faithful customer services. Between the two, they have labored for extra than 37 several years at Emmitt’s.
Teresa claimed just one of the disorders of the sale was every single of her total-time workforce would be retained.
“I produced absolutely sure that my men have been confirmed jobs. And I ensure you the (new operator) desired them,” Teresa reported. “I want all of my people to know that Rick and John will nonetheless be there. They have that level of belief in those men.”
Teresa had a last information for her family’s loyal buyers, expressing:
“I just want to thank you on behalf of my father-in-legislation, partner and the whole family members. I want to thank you for all of these a long time of coming to us. I just want to achieve out and contact them, and relieve their head. Give the other corporation a prospect considering that my men are being there.”