In April, Portland Best Auto Repair opened in the former K & S Auto Center space at 7010 NE Glisan Street. This shop is the second location for the business. The shop’s owner has operated out of a three-bay shop at 3621 SE 52nd Avenue since June of 2020 and is now expanding the company to meet the increasing demand for his team’s repair work.
Founder and chief mechanic Harley Smith brings over three decades of automotive experience to the business. “Thirty-some years ago, my brother and I owned a big shop out in Troutdale,” explained Smith. After leaving that business, he focused his efforts on buying and selling sought-after vehicles. Selling preowned vehicles required Smith to work with many different auto shops over the years. Those bad experiences eventually brought him back to his roots after difficulty finding a trustworthy place to service the vehicles in his inventory. “I started looking for mechanics, and I found out that the mechanic industry is pretty limited on honest people and good quality mechanic work. So I knew there was a huge need for a good honest, quality auto repair company.” Said Smith.
Many Portland Best Auto Repair customers appreciated the shop’s formula for providing honest repair work and word spread. Although the business works on nearly any vehicle type, Smith gained an early reputation in the Hot Rod community. He explained that his experience with older cars of value and a highly visible job servicing a Corvette set that impression. Now, just two years after opening the shop on SE 52nd Avenue, Smith needed to expand or risk turning away customers. “It took off so well over there, and that’s why we ended up building this location ’cause we just absolutely outgrew the place.”
Smith was drawn to the Glisan Street space when searching for a new shop because of its turnkey setup. “[The location] was an auto repair [shop] for 29 years. What attracted me to this location was really the building,” explained Smith. His other location required substantial work prior to its opening. On NE Glisan, the previous operator left behind equipment and a well-maintained shop. However, that is not the only enticing feature of this location for Smith. “We really like the Montavilla area. It’s a little [more] upscale than the 52nd area, and so it was something that that I wanted to move towards.”
Harley Smith now works from the NE Glisan shop, and his wife manages the original location. Smith’s son is beginning his career as a Jr. mechanic at the shop, and there is room in the business for Harley Smith’s other children to join if they wish.
According to Smith, Portland Best Auto Repair’s defining characteristic is earning the customer’s trust. Harley Smith and his team pride themselves on not milking the customer with unneeded repairs or doing more work than authorized. “I just really do want people to know that when they come here, they’re gonna get only what they need and only what they ask for.” The mechanics are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff complete most jobs within a day, but more demanding repairs can last a few days. Call them at 503-252-3278 to schedule a repair or inquire about available services.
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