One of North Augusta’s longest-running downtown businesses has moved but is still within sight of its original site, and its focus is still on brake jobs, muffler work, tire repairs and oil changes.
Carpenter Exxon was located in North Augusta at 326 Georgia Ave., starting in 1977, and is now on the opposite side of the street and known as Carpenter’s Tire and Auto. The new locale is 429 Georgia Ave., between One Hour Cleanerizing and The Finer Consigner.
“We’ve got a larger space,” said Ken Carpenter, the owner and namesake. “Plus, Jackson Square’s been wanting to buy us out, so we were needing another place, so we bought this one. I think it’s going to work out a lot better.”
Brett Brannon, Jackson Square’s managing partner, pointed out that the Carpenter space is related to recent work to remove dilapidated houses nearby on West Avenue. In the wake of those houses being removed, new parking and office space will be available on West Avenue, immediately behind the former Carpenter property, he said.
Last week’s work included removal of a gas tank that was in use for most of the Carpenter location’s existence as a repair facility and (less recently) a gas station.
Plans are for the old Carpenter building to be demolished “in the next month or so,” Brannon said.
The prior location was frequently loaded with cars to the point that customers had to exercise creativity in parking, and the new site has less space in the front but more in the back.
“It won’t look as cluttered,” Carpenter said with a laugh. “That way, people won’t be saying, ‘Well, you’re too busy. I’m going to head down the street.’”
The former site had two service bays, and the new one has six. Service involves “a little bit of everything,” Carpenter said, noting that he doesn’t want to get heavily involved in changing motors just yet.
As for the months ahead, Brannon said, “We’re going to evaluate a number of opportunities,” keeping in mind the desire that some local residents have expressed for “more restaurants, more retail and more professional folks” in downtown North Augusta.
“We want to make sure we give time for tenants to surface that would be positive for downtown North Augusta. We’re at 100-percent occupancy in Jackson Square,” he added.
Haste is not a factor in planning the next step, he confirmed. “You only get a chance to do it once.”
Photo by Bill Bengtson Frank Carpenter and dad Ken Carpenter are still in the automotive business on Georgia Avenue, but they’ve moved about a block uphill from the river.×
Photo by Bill Bengtson Cleaning up the alleyway next to the former Carpenter Exxon site Friday afternoon is Neil Lawson, with Thompson Building and Wrecking. The car-repair shop is still in business but has moved about a block farther away from the river.×