A Washougal couple who both grew up with auto mechanic, race car driving fathers, are continuing their families’ legacies.
Tom Farris, 42, owns and operates Farris Automotive Repair, and Heather Farris, 37, is the office manager. The business, which opened in March of 2017, offers mobile repairs in Camas, Washougal and surrounding areas.
Tom, certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, repairs wheel bearings, brakes, clutches, transmissions, engines and electrical systems. He also provides transmission, brake and power steering flushes, oil changes and other vehicle maintenance for all makes and models.
Tom, a mechanic for more than 20 years, conducts pre-buy inspections of used cars and courtesy inspections of fluid levels, belt and hose conditions, tire conditions and general maintenance needs of customers’ vehicles at a location of their choice.
He is authorized by the Washington State Department of Ecology to provide emissions repairs.
Tom, born and raised in Carson City, Nevada, remembers being around cars since he could hold a wrench. His father worked as a general contractor and his mother provided accounting services for the contracting company.
Tom’s father, who worked on his own cars, was part of the Modesto, California, drag racing scene and once hung out with people involved in the making of the movie, “American Graffiti.”
Tom’s interest in repairing vehicles solidified at age 15, when he rebuilt the top of an engine, restored the body and repainted a 1964 International Scout vehicle his father had purchased for him. Tom also rebuilt the engine and transmission of a Ford Bronco and earned an applied science in automotive associate’s degree from Western Nevada Community College.
His first jobs in the automotive field were at tire and lube shops.
“Cars are just in my blood,” Tom said.
Heather grew up in Vancouver around the smell of tires, oil and grease. Her father, who worked as a mechanic for a living, was involved in circle track racing in Portland.
Tom and Heather married in July of 2017 on the beach in Long Beach, Washington.
Although the couple enjoy working together, they do need to compromise when it comes to background music at their automotive garage. Sometimes the radio is playing songs such as Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” Other times, the playlist includes Frank Sinatra, hits from the 1980s and “hillbilly rap” music, which Tom enjoys and Heather does not.
The new business has worked out well for the new couple and their family. Their dog, Buddy, the shop’s mascot, is happy to hang out in the sun-dappled driveway and Tom and Heather’s blended family — which includes two children each from previous marriages — like having them home more often.
There are challenges to running a new business, of course. The couple is seeking a commercial space for the business and hoping to build a good reputation and attract new clients.
“Our ultimate goal is to make this business a success, so we have something to pass on to our children,” Heather said.