By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
Sometimes, it’s just time.
Hank and Sandy Tarter opened Tarter’s Autobody at 5350 River Road N. in 1988. The business grew from literally a mom-and-pop to a fairly large operation, with three buildings and nine full-time employees.
It was later renamed Keizer Collision Center and the employees will remain on with the operation, but Hank and Sandy, both in their mid-60s, sold it to Kadel’s Auto Body, which operates 16 shops in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
“When you’ve virtually started a business it’s kind of a hard thing to step back,” Hank said. “Talking with them, we got a real good feel with the people we dealt with.”
Hank Tarter knew the farm he grew up on near Monmouth wasn’t his future, so he learned the auto repair trade at a community college in Bend and a General Motors school in Tigard. Before jumping into it for a career, he spent several years as a logger – until a friend was gravely injured in the summer of 1974.
“He’s a paraplegic today,” Hank said. “I decided at that point I’d better go back to auto work.”
With a partner, he bought North Salem Auto Body on Pine Street, eventually selling his interest to start his shop in Keizer.
If you are worried about what they will do with all their spare time, don’t be –they figure, one way or another, they’ll find something to do.
“Do some work around the house right now,” Hank said. “We have no long term plans or big ideas of travel. Just maybe small trips here in Oregon.”
He said the shop’s employees had become so good at their work that they were able to take some time off through the years.
His community involvement includes Keizer Rotary and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Their last day was Friday, September 21.