Father turns shop keys over to son at Masters

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Since 1990, Greg Masters has served as a trusted auto mechanic in the Greenbrier Valley.

“I like figuring things out,” he says of his work. “That’s why we’re so covered up in tough jobs. People come to us.”

Greg Masters, owner of Master Mech & Tech, is retiring for medical reasons and turning over the keys to the shop to his son, Levi. Photo by RealWV.

But for the last two years, Greg just hasn’t felt like himself. He told his doctors, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. Then late last year, a biopsy showed stage 4 prostate cancer.

“It’s really tough physically and mentally,” he says. “I’m going to Duke for another opinion on whether or not to do more treatments soon.”

With jobs piling up at the shop and Greg wanting his customers taken care of, he called the one person he knew could run the shop the way he has–his son, Levi.

‘Lots of ups and downs’

Greg never took auto mechanics in school, but his father was a mechanic who owned a shop in Organ Cave for more than 20 years. It always just came naturally to him, he remembers.

“I started in 1990 working out of my garage at the house,” he says. “My dad was retired then and worked with me until he passed. Levi was there then as well.”

Then in 1991, he opened Masters Mech & Tech just outside Ronceverte on Route 63.

In the shop, a picture of Greg’s dad, left, hangs on the wall as a tribute. Photo by RealWV.

“There’s been lots of ups and downs,” he shares. “I was on a vent in 2000 for two months and been on insulin ever since. The shop burned down in 2008, and I had to pay out of pocket to rebuild. But I did. Then I got divorced the next year, and that almost killed me. Now, I’ve got this cancer. But we’ve always rebuilt and had good customers.”

Greg says some of his first customers whose jobs he worked on out of his garage still come to him. “A lot of repeat customers. I really do enjoy the car stuff.”

He gets emotional when thinking about the last 34 years and what the future will hold. “I’ll miss it,” he says, “but I’m happy Levi is taking it over.”

A happy transition

Levi Masters, left, has taken over operations but will still receive daily help from his dad, Greg. Photo by RealWV.

Greg’s business has three components–the shop, a towing/plowing business, and a used car lot. He and his wife, Heather, run them together. The plan now is for Levi to take them over, with Greg and Heather providing support.

“Handing it over to somebody who cares and will take pride is the biggest thing,” Greg says. “I’m happy. He’s the only person that will take care of the customers like I did.”

Plus, Greg says Levi is better at certain things. “If someone comes in and shoots the breeze in the office, I’ll just walk off and get back to work. He is more sociable and has big plans for the shop. He’s got the experience and the work ethic.”

Levi knows he has big shoes to fill and is excited about the opportunity. “I’ve been in here since I could hold a wrench. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

And he says his dad will still be around plenty. “With him being sick, I want him to be able to stay at home or go to the doctor if he needs to.”

Levi says the goal of the business won’t change. “We’re both known to be honest and fair, taking care of the customers. I’ll make it my own in some ways, but we will keep most things the same.”

As for Greg, he may officially be retired…but he’s still been working 12-hour days this week. He looks forward to an April trip down south. “I’m gonna ride the Harley until I can’t hold it up anymore, and then I’ll get a smaller Harley. Just getting in the sun makes me feel better.”

Masters Mech & Tech is located at 10628 Route 63, Ronceverte, WV, 24970. You can reach them at 304-645-1589 or on Facebook.

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