Ephie Toothaker of Strong closed his Main Street Service garage Tuesday afternoon and is thinking about what to do next. Sun Journal photo by Donna M. Perry

STRONG — Ephie Toothaker has been repairing and maintaining automobiles and trucks for decades, but starting Wednesday he’ll consider what he wants to do next.

The owner-operator of Main Street Service in Strong plans to close the garage after 38 years of business. Sun Journal photo by Donna M. Perry

Toothaker, 66, of Strong has owned and operated Main Street Service, a garage and 24-hour towing business on South Main Street for 38 years.

“All during high school I would work on my own cars, friends’ cars,” he said Tuesday. “It was just something I wanted to do.”

Toothaker graduated from Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township and Central Maine Vocational Technical Institute in Auburn, now Central Maine Community College. He worked for a business in Phillips for eight or nine years before opening his garage. He bought the building in May 1981.

He took night classes to keep up on the newest automotive techniques, including the change from points and condensors to electronic ignitions, which was a big deal, he said.

“One of the big improvements over the years was the emission-control system,” he said. “It is so much cleaner than they were.”

Since 1993 he has maintained the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office cruisers.

“I like being involved and taking care of my community,” he said.

His wife, Joan, has been his accountant.

Toothaker said he’ll miss his customers.

“I’ve taken care of their cars,” he said. “Now I’m taking care of their children’s cars.”

“A lot of my customers are the ones who’ve been with me for a lot of years,” Toothaker said. “They are kind of at a loss. I’ve always been just a phone call away,” he said.

For the foreseeable future, he will continue the towing business.

His employee, Fred Pease, who has been with him for about 30 years, will take one of several job offers he’s had.

Both men are beginning new ventures.

“Today at 5 o’clock, we’re going to lock the door and I will decide what I’m going to do with the next chapter of my life,” Toothaker said Tuesday.

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