In 1982, Cliff Story had a big decision to make.
He had a day job as a backhoe operator and truck and tractor mechanic and a side business working on his friends’ cars. Construction work was in a slump, while demand for his automotive services was steadily increasing.
He made the decision to take the self-employment plunge and Story’s Saab Service became an official entity on December 1, 1982. For the first couple of years the business operated in rented space in Marshalton, Pa. but, when a small shop and tiny house at 115 Schuylkill Road in Phoenixville became available in 1984, Cliff and Karen bought it. Phoenixville soon proved to be a wonderful place to live and work, and in 1988 they moved to our present location at 610 Schuylkill Road (Route 724) just west of the Borough of Phoenixville.
A bigger shop was finished in 1991, giving Cliff space for another mechanic. Cliff’s first employee was Cary Gleason, who now runs his own very successful shop in Tempe, Arizona. Jonathan Coine came aboard in 1994, went in a different direction in 2004, and returned in 2010 having gained a wealth of experience. He contributed his expertise until the spring of 2017, whereupon his desire to work on more exotic machinery coincided with Cliff’s decision to downsize.
At some point in the 1990s, the business’ name was changed to Story’s Garage to reflect the broader range of vehicles being serviced. Much has changed in 30 years: carburetors, ignition points, and radios with two big round knobs are long gone, and today’s cars are much more efficient, powerful, and fun to drive than those of the early 1980s.
What hasn’t changed is our desire to provide honest, sensible, cost-effective personal service.
Cliff Story has been working on cars since he was a teenager in the 1960s… His mom’s Studebaker Lark and Chevy II, his own Model A, Fords, Chevys and MGs – anything he could get his hands on! He rebuilt his first engines (Mercedes, Alfa Romeo) in the early 1970s, and was bitten by the Saab bug around that time.
Until he drove his first Saab, Cliff’s tastes had run to big Buicks and Oldsmobiles of the ‘50s and ‘60s but the front wheel drive, crisp handling and efficiency of the Saab changed all of that. He has over 40 years of Saab experience under his belt, and comfortable familiarity with almost any other car, old or new.
With a broad range of training and experience, Cliff is an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician, a licensed Pennsylvania safety inspector, emissions inspector and certified emissions repair technician. Driving mostly Saabs, including a 1992 “Classic 900” convertible, Cliff also enjoys the 1919 White truck in his garage at home.
It’s funny how life comes full circle sometimes. At this point (2018), having operated his business for 35-plus years, Cliff is in his 70th year on this planet and wanting to scale things back to an easier pace. He’s a one-man show once again, and there’s only so much he can do in a day. He still loves to take care of people and cars, but you may need to be patient!
Karen Story has worked stints as a veterinary technician, dog groomer, hairdresser, payroll specialist, bank teller and full-time wife and mother! She has been looking after the administrative side of Story’s Garage at an ever-increasing level over the past 25-plus years and she runs the office at this point. You may hear her friendly voice on the phone, or see her cheerful smile in the office when you’re in our waiting room! She drives a sensible Honda CR-V.