SUGAR NOTCH – When you meet Larry Churnetski, you quickly realize why he has an eight-point code of ethics on his website and displayed in his office at Churnetski Transportation and Auto Repair.
The Code of Ethics is how Churnetski, 71, and his late father before him ran their business and their lives for more than 93 years at 146 Hillside St. in Sugar Notch.
That’s why Churnetski, his employees, customers and all who know him are saddened by the news that the business will be closing this summer. It will mark the end of an era filled with countless stories and satisfied customers who will no doubt carry on the spirit of this code of ethics simply because they got to know Larry and his father.
“It’s time to retire,” he said. “My age is a factor. The pandemic is another factor. And we have a buyer for the property.
Jonathan S. Comitz, an attorney with offices in the public square in Wilkes-Barre, has known Churnetski for years. His father and Churnetski are also friends.
“It really is the end of an era,” Comitz said of the company closing. “He has owned and operated Churnetski Transportation in Sugar Notch for as long as I can remember and his father ran it before him. My grandfather and his father were friends and I remember going to this garage when I was very young. Either way, his garage is an institution and anyone who’s ever been there or knows Larry will agree that he’s one of a kind.
Comitz called Churnetski’s garage an “institution”.
“Places like this don’t exist anymore and it will be sad to see the garage close,” Comitz said. “But I’m very happy for Larry because he deserves to retire on his own terms.”
Comitz also said Churnetski is highly respected in the community.
“And it didn’t happen by accident,” Comitz said. “His work at the garage has allowed him to form many strong relationships and touch the lives of many people in different ways. His quiet generosity over the years is unmatched. call my friend.
‘I have no regrets’
This code of ethics seems to have been strictly followed by many people over the decades.
Churnetski sat behind his desk and talked about the business, stopping occasionally to take a phone call and assure the customer that his vehicle would be ready this afternoon.
Churnetski joined his father, John, in the business in 1972 after graduating from Villanova University. The family property, demolished three months ago, was right next door. It now has five employees, up from 43 when the company held the bus transport contract with the Hannover Region School District, which they sold in August 2021 after 49 years.
As he prepares for retirement with Kate, his wife of 40 years, Churnetski said he is looking forward to fishing more trout and relaxing.
So what about this code of ethics?
“It happened because we basically wanted to treat our customers the way we would want to be treated,” Churnetski said. “Customers deserve it. They come here looking for good service and we provide it.
As Comitz said, the company’s closure will mark the end of an incredible era. Churnetski also wants the pandemic to end.
Churnetski said he expects all the buildings to be gone soon. He doesn’t know what the buyer has planned for the site, but it won’t be a garage.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “I’ve had great people working here over the years and our clients have been the best. They all made a lasting impression on me.
Although he never thought he would work at the company, Churnetski said he was glad he did.
“When I watched what my dad did every day and how he enjoyed his job and the customers, I knew this was for me,” Churnetski said. “I knew I didn’t want to drop that ball.”
Churnetski’s father died in December 1983 and the ball was never dropped for the next 38+ years.
“We know that your time is money”
On the company’s website, it says:
“Get top-notch auto repair services today at Churnetski Transportation Inc. From AC repair to transmission services, our goal is to provide expert auto repair at an affordable price.
“We know that your time is money. Most truck or car maintenance services can be done while you wait. Many repairs such as air conditioning repair, brakes and transmission repairs will be done on this day. Simple or complicated, our mechanics will complete your auto repairs quickly and get you back on the road immediately.
“We will provide you with an easy to understand estimate before starting any service. Learn about options to reduce auto repair costs or upgrades to keep your car in top condition. We back all of our work with a warranty you can rely on.
“Our certified mechanics and highly trained auto repair specialists provide the best auto repair services for domestic and import automobiles of all makes and models.”
And oh yes, check out this code of ethics.
Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.