ROCKLAND — This is a feel-good story about a local business owner doing well by doing good.
Alvin Chase is the owner of Eastern Tire and Auto Service in Rockland. He has worked there for 33 years. His grandfather ran it for the original owners back in the 1940s through the 1960s, then his father worked there and bought the business. Alvin left Cornell and came back to help his father run the business when his father got sick in 1988. Later, his younger brother Aaron joined the team.
When I pulled into the busy parking lot I saw an electric car leaving and another being serviced.
“The entire staff is taking hybrid and electric vehicle training to try and stay ahead of the curve,” said Chase. “We purchased an electric car last year for the staff to take apart and put back together and to apply our learning. It may be early, but my experience tells me that change is coming and coming faster than most people think. Rockland and Knox county have the demographics and culture for this transformation. When an electric car needs service, I want it's owner to think of us and I want us to be ready.”
Community service drives Alvin, and he and Aaron support and partner with a number of local nonprofits, such as the Georges River Land Trust, Big Brother and Big Sister, The Strand, Apprentice Shop and New Hope.
“As a community leader, and just as a human being, if I am in a position to educate, to lead by example, I should do that,” said Chase. “Having the ability to take action carries the responsibility to take action. It's just how we were raised.”
So Alvin and Aaron contracted with Revision Energy to install a solar farm on their family farm in Warren.
The electricity it generates offsets the $1,000 a month electricity usage of the business and the homes of Alvin and Aaron.
The solar farm in this case, with tax benefits and accelerated depreciation, will pay for itself in five years and four months, after which the electricity will be free. But the benefits go well beyond financial.
As Alvin says: “Goodwill is valuable and the solar farm has proven to be very popular with our client base. When you do the right thing it feels good.”
What's next? Alvin is going to install a second solar farm and is planning to offset the energy needs of local charities.
“One of the things that make our community so strong is our remarkable nonprofit organizations,” said Chase. “People have expected us to lead for the last 30 odd years and we will continue to do so”
Alvin, we are counting on it! Thank you.
Shawn McCarty is a member of the Rockland Solar Club; firstname.lastname@example.org