FAIRMONT — What started out as a risky proposition to start a business in the midst of a pandemic turned out to be anything but for Joe Beafore.
In June 2021, he started Mountain Top Small Engine Repair LLC out of his garage in Bunner Ridge with the long-term goal of one day moving his store to Fairmont.
Since March 1, Beafore has achieved this goal by bringing to life the former location of Frederick’s Small Engine Repair, near Pizza Hut at 13 Freeland St.
“The place I was at was too far away so when it became available I was looking for a place and then Tim [Liebrecht] reached out to me after my previous article in the newspaper. We settled here and we came to an agreement,” Beafore said.
Owner Tim Liebrecht has worked in economic development at Fairmont for the past eight years. He said he was browsing Facebook when he came across the Times West Virginian article on Mountain Top Small Engine Repair from December 2021.
Leibrecht acquired the property in November 2021, so after reading the article he decided to contact Beafore to see if he wanted to move to a new location.
“So I made sure we had all our ducks in a row on the side of the property and I called Joe and just said, ‘Hey man, I’ve got this property listed. Would you be interested in renting it? It is fully functional and ready to operate as a small engine repair shop. If you are interested in coming here we can list the property. That’s kind of how it all started,” Liebrecht said.
Liebrecht looks forward to the future of Mountain Top Small Engine Repair, Fairmont’s only small engine repair shop.
“I’m really proud that we have an active small business here. We introduced a new business to Fairmont. We have a service that isn’t offered anywhere else at Fairmont and that’s really cool too, because it’s been a small engine shop for over 40 years, so we can keep it that way,” Liebrecht said.
The site became available after Frederick’s Small Engine Repair announced in December 2020 that the family was closing shop after 75 years in business.
Meanwhile, Beafore said business has been great since the move. He is currently working on adding a showroom to the property, so he can sell small engine items such as lawnmowers and trimmers (or weeders).
Beafore has just placed orders for Echo and Shindaiwa products and will have Toro and hopefully Stihl products in the future. Beafore said the showroom setup should be ready in three to four weeks.
“Setting up the showroom was a slow process, but we’re getting there…It helps the community to be able to offer products,” Beafore said.
Beafore said he worked all his life repairing small engines.
“It’s my passion… When the pandemic hit, I was slow at work. I was originally a union operator, so when the work dried up there, I had nowhere to go. So I had to make other choices and chose this one because there was no service at Fairmont to help the community,” Beafore said.
He likes to be able to “be his own boss” and help the public by offering a local service.
“My main concern is customer satisfaction. Without my clients, I wouldn’t be here,” Beafore said.
Mountain Top Small Engine Repair is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. For questions, call 681-404-6096.