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Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful. But there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.
– Donald H. Hicks, "Look into the stillnes"  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 9 September 2020  

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Bill Radford

  Solving car problems
  By Bill Radford

   Depending on one’s profession, people are either at their best or their worst. A jeweler, for example, encounters people who are in love and are looking to symbolize that love. A florist deals with customers who, more often than not, are buying flowers in celebration.
   
   In the auto repair business, most people likely don’t want to be there. They are dealing with a flat tire that derailed the drive to work or a mysterious rattle that threatens a family excursion — or worse.
   
   "One time a lady just screamed at me, 'Oh my God, don't you get tired of giving people bad news?'" said Val Durbin, who owns Falcon Auto Repair & Tires with her husband, Todd.
   Durbin looks at it a different way. She told the woman, "I'm not giving you bad news, I'm telling you I can solve your problem."
   
   Falcon Auto Repair, 14195 U.S. 24, a neighbor to the Falcon Big R, has been solving motorists' problems since 2003. Todd has been with the business since the start and Durbin almost that long, since 2005. They bought the business in 2014.
   
   "I run the front and the customer service side of it and do the bookkeeping," Val Durbin said, while Todd runs the repair side. It's not Todd's first time to have his own business; he had a landscaping business for several years, she said.
   
   Meanwhile, Durbin had been in the grocery business — her sister still works for Albertsons and her mother worked for the company, so it's almost like the family business, she said. She went to work for King Soopers after graduating from high school, then worked at Albertsons for 26 years, mostly in management.
   
   Durbin said she had no qualms about working with –- and then owning the business –- with her husband. "We've always really gotten along."
   
    As a Colorado native; she grew up in Wheatridge. Todd was born in Minnesota but grew up in Colorado Springs. Durbin said they have been married for 15 years, and met on eharmony.com "and hit it off right away." They each had three kids from previous marriages so ended up "Brady bunching it," as Durbin puts it. They live on 3 acres in Falcon with ducks, chickens, cats and dogs and their favorite pastime is camping and fishing. Eleven Mile Reservoir is a favorite destination. "We love it there," she said.
   
   As an essential business, Falcon Auto Repair stayed open during the state's stay-at-home order. But business definitely took a hit as people stayed home and off the roads. "It was scary slow," Durbin said, but business has picked up.
   
   "We did qualify for an SBA loan. I think we would have survived without it. I haven't used the money,” she said.
   
   Being out in the countryside, Falcon Auto Repair sees more trucks and more diesel issues than city repair shops see, Durbin said. "We pride ourselves on doing excellent diesel repair,” she said. The dirt roads take a toll on vehicles' suspension, just as the old country highways wreak havoc on tires. If someone buys a tire that typically would last maybe 70,000 miles, the person who lives in the country shouldn’t count on it -– "no way," she said.
   
   Some customers wrack up a lot of miles just getting to Falcon Auto Repair, coming from Calhan, Matheson, Rush and elsewhere. One local customer moved from Falcon to Colorado Springs but still returns to Falcon for her auto needs despite the wealth of like businesses in town, Durbin said.
   
   She enjoys the community spirit she believes endures in Falcon. While the area is seeing explosive growth, "It still kind of has that small town vibe," she said. "When I go do my grocery shopping every week at Walmart, I have 10 people who say hello to me while I'm shopping.”
  
Val Durbin is owner of Falcon Auto Repair & Tires with husband Todd. Photo by Bill Radford
 
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