New Business: Levis & Sons expanding in The Pinehills

November 02, 2011     In The Media

The photos on the office wall are all family shots of the Levis clan. If you’re waiting for your car to be serviced, don’t bother looking for a magazine. Albert Levis III will pull down the family photo album and hand it to you. See those beautiful kids? See those beautiful grandkids? Before you know it, you will also be treated to some inside information on Al and all things Levis, as his sons roll their eyes.

Born barely 11 months apart, Albert Levis IV and Geoff Levis complete the Levis powerhouse at Levis & Sons Gulf at the corner of Samoset and Court streets.

Unless it’s the first time you’ve stopped in, chances are these guys remember your name and some details about your life. And, given Al III’s free discourse, chances are you won’t be able to forget some Levis family details.

To the Levis clan, family is everything, and that includes you.

Levis & Sons Gulf has been a successful business in town since 1980, when Al III opened the station at age 30, when his sons were young children. The family’s personal approach to business has paid off because, combined with the automotive expertise, people respond to it. Customers wind up feeling that the Levis clan is part of their extended family, too, and they won’t go anywhere else to get their car serviced.

“Because we are the neighborhood station, we’ve had the same families and customers for generations,” Al III said.

That’s probably why Tony Green and John Judge of The Pinehills approached Al III two years ago to open a gas station in The Pinehills, on the Village Green near The Market. The Levis family went to work to make it happen, and happen it will sometime early next year. The family is hoping for a grand opening in January.

Drawings of the 2,700-square-foot building hardly look like a gas and service station. The Colonial-style, white cedar shingle building will feature a metal roof and three bays with windows and doors trimmed in green. It will be full-service Gulf station with two islands offering a total of four pumps. Al IV and Geoff will manage the new Pinehills Levis & Sons, which will also provide basic auto maintenance.

“It’s going to be the prettiest gas station you’ve ever seen,” Al III said.

So, do these guys ever fight? Geoff and Al III and IV shook their heads. There’s an occasional sulk, apparently, but that’s about the extent of it.

“I feel very fortunate. To be around family every day is important,” Geoff said. “We’re just close knit.”

Al III said his kids give him grief for sharing so much personal information with customers. But, for him, being open is what it’s all about, since everyone deals with pretty much the same trials and tribulations in life. Most everyone is dealing with money problems, for instance, relationship challenges, health issues – so why not just be up front about these things, he asked? Sharing them makes people feel they’re not alone, and they’ll also feel more comfortable about talking about their own troubles, or about sharing information that might help.

Al III’s parting words to customers are always, “May all your troubles be simple.”

And, when it comes to cars and car repairs and maintenance, Levis & Sons has it covered. The Levis clan can handle any type of repair that rolls in the door, except, perhaps, incidents involving large animals.

“A lady called one day and said she must have hit something,” Al III said, laughing. “There was a hawk jammed into the car’s grill. I told her we don’t do animals!”

Animal surprises make him jump out of skin, he added, like when mice build nests in car engines and skitter out when you open the hood.

It’s going to be a bit of challenge for Father Levis when his two sons begin manning the family’s Pinehills operation. He said he’ll miss them terribly when they make the move south, but added that they’ll all be spending time at both locations, so it shouldn’t be too hard.

Al III can always resort to what he termed “forced family fun,” if he doesn’t see enough of his boys. Forced family fun is just what the name suggests – there’s no getting out of it. The event is booked and the mandate is: Be there and have a good time, whether you like it or not. If you’re a Levis, you had better be at these family shindigs, or Al may just come find you.

In the meantime, you can find him at the corner of Samoset and Court Streets, where he’s been for 31 years.

“Everybody that comes in here is family,” Al III said.

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