nsider the face of Shelby’s Auto Repair, and Liefer Garage before it, has retired.
Candy Bise’s last day as the service advisor at the Waterloo shop was Friday, capping off her 42-year career at the business her father, Ervin Liefer, founded.
“I’m having a lot of mixed emotions,” Bise said the day before her retirement. “I’ve been in this building for 42 years, and I think that’s what I’m having the most problems with. It’s a connection to my family.”
Bise began working at her father’s company at age 19, occupying a position previously held by her sister, who decided she wanted to focus on being a mother.
Over the next four decades, the majority of people who came to the shop would see or speak with Bise.
“I just order all the parts, talk to all the customers, take all the parts to the guys, etc. Basically I do a little bit of everything, except for actually fix the cars. They wouldn’t want me to do that,” Bise joked.
For about 30 of her 42 years, Bise’s father owned and worked at the Waterloo shop.
“Definitely the No. 1 thing I enjoyed was spending so much time with dad,” she said. “I’m really glad I (took the job) because I got to spend all those years with dad, and I wouldn’t have been able to spend all that time with dad.”
Bise said finding other good employees – especially mechanics – was the most challenging part of the job.
“That’s even harder since I started,” she noted. “Nobody wants to get in this field or something. There’s a shortage of mechanics now.”
But Bise said the Shelby’s Auto Repair team was able to find those qualified candidates, and it is those individuals and the customers she will miss the most in retirement.
“I’m a people person,” she said before thanking Shelby for keeping her on when he bought the business. “Shelby is a great boss. My dad felt really good about selling it to him. I don’t feel bad about leaving because all the people here are just really good. They’ll do a great job.”
Now that she is retired, Bise said she plans to spend more time with family, catch up on projects around her house and travel when the pandemic makes it less risky to do so.