FAIRFIELD — Steve Bellamy doesn’t mind being called “Ed.” After all, the original owner of EDCO Transmission was named Ed and combined his first name with an abbreviation for the company.
Bellamy took over the business in 1980 and still answers to “Ed.”
EDCO began in 1968. Today, it’s housed in the old Crest Motors building on North Texas Street, which was built in 1952.
It’s the ideal location.
“There are five bays and room for building,” Bellamy said. “It’s a great facility.”
The building is owned by Bellamy’s next-door business neighbors, Jack and Evelyn Martin of Vaca Valley Auto Parts, which will celebrate its 40th year in business in 2014.
“He’s the best tenant you could ask for,” Jack Martin said of Bellamy. “His customers love him, his suppliers love him. I don’t think you can find a bad thing to say about him.”
Bellamy, 70, could call it a day and retire. He’s not ready.
Usually he’s the first one at the shop and still answers the phone. One recent morning, a woman called from Crockett. She was having transmission problems but wasn’t quite sure she could make it to Fairfield. She told Bellamy she was a military veteran on a fixed income. He offered to pay half her tow fee to Fairfield. After more conversation, he referred her to a transmission company in her area.
EDCO specializes in automatic and standard transmissions and clutches. Narrowing the focus puts the emphasis on quality work, Bellamy said.
The shop has one man who takes out the transmission, another who rebuilds them, a third who handles the parts and service area and Bellamy, who handles paperwork.
The gregarious Bellamy wears shorts to work every day, be it January or July. About 15 years ago, he and a pal bet they couldn’t wear shorts year-round. The exception was formal events such as weddings.
The pal has since died and Bellamy wore shorts to his funeral.
Bellamy, with two new knees, said he’s become acclimated to the changing season and now prefers shorts.
“I’ll wear a jacket when I’m cold,” he said.
Transmissions have changed over the years, but Bellamy keeps his business practices in the old-school vein.
“It’s much more complicated than when I got in the business,” Bellamy said.
EDCO offers a free analysis and estimate before any work is performed. Communication is important, Bellamy said. “This business lends itself to that,” he said.
Today, EDCO is seeing the third generation of some families.
Bellamy usually calls it a day about 11 a.m. or noon.
“All of a sudden, I realized I still like what I do,” he said. “And I have the flexibility of coming and going.”
When asked what he wants to do when he retires, Bellamy answered, “What I’m doing now. I have a place to go, a feeling of accomplishment.”
He’s made a mental note to check back and see if he still feels the same in five years.
His wife died in January 2011. The couple raised three daughters and have seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.