Reina P. Cunningham
For 43 years of service to Bell County, Buddy’s Small Engine Repair has been chosen as this week’s edition of Surviving the Hard Times.
Buddy Yeary began his career working on lawnmowers while he was in high school.
He spent afternoons and Saturdays working at Montgomery Wards in downtown Middlesboro. Yeary made 90 cents an hour — about $20 a week — which was considered good money at the time.
Despite having little to start out with, Yeary decided to go into business for himself after graduating high school.
“When I went into business I had $50 and a box of tools,” said Yeary.
Buddy’s Small Engine Repair originally opened in early Spring of 1970. At first, Yeary just worked on lawnmowers but then he began some work on cars and air conditioners in Mac trucks.
The first place the shop called home was a two-story building on Cumberland Avenue. The building was located next to State Electric and was referred to as the ‘Coleman Building’.
After three years in the Coleman Building, Yeary moved on down the road to a garage located right before Middlesboro Middle School.
But this location was also short lived because Yeary had the opportunity to purchase a building on Dansbury Avenue.
Unfortunately the shop’s new Dansbury home did not last long either — the business was destroyed in a fire shortly after Yeary purchased it.
After the fire, Yeary reopened his shop at it current location at 501 N 15th Street, Middlesboro.
Yeary credits his four centuries of success to his family, loyal customers and the Lord.
His parents taught him early on to help his neighbors when he could.
“Help people when you can and maybe you won’t need any help,” recalled Yeary as he remembered the words his parents often told him.
Yeary knows he would not still be in business without the loyalty from his hometown.
“The people in this town have been good to me,” declared Yeary with a smile.
Despite dealing with tragedies such as the fire, floods and break-ins, the businessman is humbled by his success and gives credit to the Lord for all he has done for him.
“I have had thieves steal every tool I own,” said Yeary. ” But the Lord has been good to me.”
Buddy’s is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. You can reach Buddy at 606-248-2700.
To nominate a long-standing locally owned business to be featured in Surviving the Hard Times, contact Reina Parker Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 205.