Russ Seaton grew tired of the “hustle, rustle and bustle” of Seattle, so he decided to open Pro Muffler and Brakes, on 14022 West Highway 2 in Airway Heights.
“I decided to slow down a little bit, so I opened up a ‘mom-and-pop shop’ in December,” Seaton said.
Seaton has worked in the auto service industry for 30 years. His passion for working on cars began in high school, in Pasco, while taking an industrial arts class.
“The guy who owned a local muffler shop was looking for a good, trainable hand and I applied, he signed me up,” Seaton said.
Seaton worked at the muffler shop for four years before he moved to Seattle where he ran his own business. He opened a chain of muffler stores in 1993 in Linwood, and had four stores. After he sold the shops to the managers, he went back to Pasco and opened a Pro Muffler and Brakes. Five years later, he sold that store and returned to Seattle. He worked for a big muffler chain as a general manager until 2012.
“I missed the east of the mountains and my fiancé’s family is from Medical Lake, so we packed up and headed back east,” Seaton said.
For Seaton, the transition from going from Seattle to a smaller area has been good. He said he makes it to work earlier because of the avenues and farm roads. He also enjoys the weather.
Seaton said the community response has been positive.
“They are happier to have a muffler shop in the area than I am,” Seaton said. “They’re happy that they don’t have to make that long drive into the city.”
Seaton, who currently runs the shop by himself, works on brakes, exhaust performance systems for vehicles and farm equipment.
“The thing I love the most is when someone comes in with a newer rig that’s really quiet and I give it some sound and some flash and some chrome,” Seaton said. “Just watching their smile go from ear to ear. It’s great.”
Seaton said past customers would drive by his shop and rev their engines as a way to say hello.
The current Pro Muffler and Brakes shop Seaton runs is his ninth store, though he would like to open up a couple more shops in different locations down the road.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.