Motor Electric moves after 65 years in same location |

Motor Electric moves after 65 years in same location

Photo for The Union by Annita Kasparian

Though a business may relocate, the history of its beginning is not something easily forgotten.

Motor Electric was purchased in 1947 by Air Force pilot Marvin Brooksby and remained in the same location until November 2012.

“My dad purchased it in 1947,” said Motor Electric owner Blair Brooksby. “We rebuilt starters, generators, alternators, motors, pumps. It was primarily a mechanics shop.”

Brooksby took over the business in 1978 after his father passed away in 1976.

Blair Brooksby purchased Motor Electric’s new location at 744 Maltman Dr. 10 years ago to prepare for the possibility that the original location could no longer be rented.

“The landlady was in her 90s,” Brooksby said. “She was the same landlord for close to 70 years.”

The history of the building and the original owner is still remembered by some in Grass Valley.

“His dad was a very interesting man who flew all sorts of airplanes in World War II,” said Robert Steuber, a longtime friend of Brooksby. “Mostly Germany in a B-17.”

Melvin Brooksby was an Air Force pilot during World War II. He had been transferred to Sacramento and found the advertisement for a business for sale in Grass Valley.

“He bought the business as an existing business,” Blair Brooksby said. “He investigated the ad and the guy offered to train him to run the business, and after six months, my dad took over.”

Steuber said he and Blair Brooksby have flown together many times, after Blair followed in his father’s footsteps and received his pilot’s license.

“We had some adventures,” Steuber said. “We went clear down to Cedar City, Utah, to pick up a new plane and he flew about 600 miles.”

Steuber said the new location offers better resources for the business.

“It’s a much larger space with better parking, so they’re making a good move,” Steuber said. “It’s such a strange thing for a business to be in the same spot since 1947.”

The change is something customers will have to become accustomed to, Brooksby said.

“We had a guy in this morning that said he missed the smell of the old place,” he said.

“There was a lot of stuff rebuilt there and it had an oily smell.”

Another reason for the move was that the heating needed improvements.

“The place was old and the heat wasn’t good,” said Brooksby. “As I get older, I want more creature comforts.”

In order to make customers aware of the move, the old location has signs and letters with the new address painted on the window.

“We still have a big sign saying we moved to this location so people can still find us,” Brooksby said.

“With so many businesses going out of business, we are doing the best we can to make it known that we are not out of business, we just moved locations.”

Brooksby found a business partner, David Grande, two years ago, who will be the future owner of Motor Electric after Brooksby retires.

“Blair knows my father from many, many years ago,” Grande said. “My dad worked down here in the late 70s and that’s how I got in the mix.”

Grande said he enjoys fixing things rather than throwing them away, a rarity in this day and age.

“I love helping people and I like fixing things,” Grande said.

“I like the challenge of fixing something instead of just throwing it away. It’s such a throw-it-away world.”

Though the business is in a new location, the quality from more than 60 years of the business remains the same.

“There’s a lot of history down there,” Grande said. “A lot of stuff had been around there for a long time. My dad installed some of the equipment back in the 70s so any time you move a location that’s been there for 65 years, of course there’s a lot of sentimental stuff.

“But it will all stay the same Motor Electric Service Company.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

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