Leffler’s Service Co., an independent family-owned auto service shop, closed its doors May 10. The service shop at 640 N. 9th St., Lebanon, had been in business since 1973.

Leonard Leffler, owner of the now shuttered business, said in addition to auto repair, the business offered towing. Until three years ago, the facility had 10 gas pumps for several grades of gas as well as auto diesel and kerosene. Leffler said the repair shop had as many as eight employees, but more recently employed five people.

Leffler, 57, said he wasn’t “looking to close up, but someone gave me the right figure to buy the property.” He declined to disclose the selling price or the buyer, and no transaction has yet been filed with the Lebanon County Recorder of Deeds. The property had been listed for sale with Bennett Williams for $495,000.

Leffler said another factor in his decision to sell was the fact that there wasn’t anyone “in line to take over” the business. He added that he will take some time off and then begin a new career later this summer.

The closing of the business was announced May 7 on Facebook. “It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited to go on to something different, but we had a family legacy in this business,” Leffler wrote.

“The last few days (before the business closed) were a bit sad as we said goodbye to customers,” said Leffler. “Change is difficult but it will be good.”

Leffler’s was started by Leonard’s older brother Lester in 1973. He purchased the former Kapp’s Texaco station, which had opened on the site in 1969. Another Leffler brother, Frank, worked at Kapp’s and then worked at Leffler’s until he retired in June 2022.

“I’ve been doing this for 43 years. My first job was working here. I was 14 at the time and I rode my bike from my family home in Schaefferstown,” Leonard recalled.

Lester died in July 1999, and the business was operated by his wife Jenny until 2006 when it was purchased by Leonard. Lester Leffler was a long-time member of the Community of Lebanon Association, which now has an award named in his honor – the Lester Leffler Memorial Community Volunteer Service Award.

Greg Bracale, a member of the CLA board and the 2011 recipient of the Lester Leffler Award, said the award recognizes volunteer efforts. “Lester was always there to help out with CLA events. He would do whatever needed to be done. The award was first presented after his death and is one of the highlights of our annual awards banquet. We didn’t present the award last year due to the merger with the Lebanon Foundation, but we intend to present it this year,” he said.

Leffler’s was not only a family business, but it served generations of families. “I’ve seen quite a few people grow up – their parents or grandparents were customers and then they became customers – and I’ve seen a number of customers pass away,” he said.

Leffler’s Service Co.’s philosophy was fair service at a fair price and treating customer’s cars as if they were their own.

“If you have one guy working consistently on your car, he gets to know your car and the service or repairs that had been done to it in the past,” Leffler said. “In general people have been keeping their cars longer than they had in the past. That means it’s important to keep up with service – things like regular oil changes and maintenance.”

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Rochelle A. Shenk is a writer with over two decades experience. Her work appears in regional business publications and lifestyle magazines as well as area newspapers. She writes about business and municipal sectors as well as arts and entertainment, human interest features, and travel and tourism. Rochelle...