Perry Automotive at your service

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

“Meaner than a junk yard dog” became a household term when “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was a hit back in 1973, but Baxter, the Rodney Perry Automotive Inc., shop cat, could spark a new, friendlier automotive expression.

He might inspire something more along the lines of “softer than a chamois cloth” or “oranger than Jeff Burton’s car.”

Diane Perry said she brought Baxter to live at the repair shop after adopting him from a shelter.

He steers clear of the four-bay garage where Rodney Perry, Rodney Perry, Jr. and Harold Button work on cars and trucks.

“We do just about anything,” Rodney Perry said. “We do everything from oil changes and selling tires to rebuilding engines and transmissions.”

Baxter seems to prefer hanging out in the waiting room attending to the steady stream of customers that go in and out, or in the office helping Diane Perry with the bookkeeping chores.

His forte seems to be coaxing people to scratch behind his ears and rough up his thick orange fur. While awaiting his turn in line, one burly local could be heard cooing, “How’ve you been today Baxter ... who’s a good kitty?”

Customers aren’t flocking to the new repair shop in town just for Baxter though.

Co-owners Diane and Rodney Perry have an extensive automotive background with a combined 72 years’ experience.

Diane Perry said she began her career straight out of high school when she went to work for General Motors Acceptance Corporation, General Motors’ financial arm, in 1972.

Rodney Perry began his automotive career at Davis Oldsmobile in Shelbyville in 1971, and eventually opened his own repair shop in Shelbyville.

“We each have about 36 years automotive experience,” Diane Perry said.

The couple bought the Pleasureville location in 2006. “We worked on it a little bit at a time,” she said, “and opened Aug. 18 (2007) full-time.”

Their diligence shows. The business has been given a fresh coat of paint inside and out. Shelves are neatly stacked with oil and oil filters, as well as various other auto necessities. The waiting room offers comfortable chairs and a chance to catch up with neighbors while you wait.

The Perrys moved their residence to Pleasuresville as well. Rodney Perry said it was a homecoming for him having grown up in the area. “I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in 30 years,” he said.

The shop is located next to the Depot restaurant. “It’s a good location,” Diane Perry said. “We get lots of customers from Shelbyville, and loads of new ones locally.”

Diane Perry said she believed the facility had been a gas station more than once in the past, possibly originally a Sunoco, but the new owners do not intend to sell gas. She said the Environmental Protection Agency removed the tanks years ago, and the investment required would not be practical.

The shop originally housed two service bays. “We had to add the other two to accommodate the business,” Diane Perry said. “We stay extremely busy. It’s been consistent.”

She said she believes fair pricing on mechanical work as well as parts and tires have helped to build their business. “I think our prices are very competitive,” Diane Perry said.

Rodney Perry said delivering high quality service is his first priority. “I’m going to do it right or I’m not going to do it,” he said.

Rodney Perry Automotive, Inc. is located at 1229 Main Street, Pleasureville. The phone number is (502) 878-0066. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.