John Kraska Jr. Kraska Corp. automobile pieces Kelley Square Quinsigamond Village

John Kraska Jr. began assisting out in his father’s auto areas shop at age 7, rolling tires into the constructing.

On Saturday, the tires will have to go someplace else as Kraska Corp., the final mom-and-pop vehicle areas keep in the metropolis, shuts its doorways just after 67 yrs.

“It’s time,” Kraska, now 74, mentioned in an interview Monday. “As my Polish grandfather mentioned, there are two factors revenue cannot obtain: overall health and time. While I’m healthy, I want to use my time correctly.”

Kraska Corp. auto parts, the last independent auto parts store in the city, is closing after 67 years.

Kraska Corp. was set up in close proximity to Kelley Sq. in 1954 by Kraska’s father, John Sr., who had operate a gas station and realized Worcester’s impartial and smaller mechanics needed additional frequent deliveries of elements. The enterprise grew and, in 1960, the keep moved to Blackstone River Street in Quinsigamond Village. It has been there ever because, serving neighborhood services stations, auto overall body retailers, dealerships and employed motor vehicle tons, as effectively as the weekend tinkerer with the vintage car in the garage. 

Kraska, who explained the retailer as his father’s “other baby,” was a typical presence. But after John Sr. had two coronary heart assaults when Kraska was a junior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the retail outlet became a profession alternative.

Kraska Corp. auto parts owner John Kraska talks at the counter of his shop Monday.

“Maybe he had the coronary heart attacks since he believed I was going to be a layout engineer,” Kraska joked on Monday.

Kraska switched to a administration degree and commenced operating entire-time right after his graduation in 1968.

He has grow to be a trustworthy supply of parts and vehicle understanding for customers at any time due to the fact.

“He’s like a pc he knows outdated cars like any individual,” said worker Mary Ann Houle.

Kraska explained his company results was very easy.

Mary Ann Houle has worked at Kraska Corp. auto parts for decades.

“We’re professional and we get the suitable sections the very first time,” Kraska claimed. “It’s just creating a rapport with shoppers.”

That rapport was on exhibit Monday as various buyers came into the shop to offer you perfectly wishes on retirement.   

“He’s been terrific to us,” Joe Moroski, the direct electrician at Clark College, stated as he picked up motor oil and presented his effectively needs to Kraska. “Now exactly where am I likely to go?”

That rapport also created in between Kraska and his workers.

Parts catalogues going back decades fill a counter inside Kraska Corp. auto parts Monday.

“I have a further job, but I never head coming right here,” Houle, an personnel of 52 many years, reported. “The prospects are wonderful. John’s great. He’s the most straightforward person I know.”

But the car components company has transformed due to the fact Kraska took above in 1968.

Although he presents name-brand elements, his rivals at the significant box outlets usually acquire components and repackage and resell them, Kraska said, so you just can’t often inform what you’re getting. Moreover, leasing cars has altered the recreation some, as leased motor vehicles are predominantly serviced by dealerships. 

“It used to be you’d get a employed auto for your first motor vehicle and tinker with it,” Kraska reported. “Now people today want a hire receipt for their home and a rent receipt for the car they have.”

Then, of study course, there was COVID.

A mechanical cash register competes for space with auto parts on a counter inside John Kraska's store Monday.

Kraska documented that within just the final calendar year, three of his key consumers died, 4 retired, and two shut mainly because of the pandemic and by no means reopened.

With his two sons interested in other professions outdoors of Worcester, Kraska stated it was time to retire. He explained he has grandchildren to go to and golf to participate in.

“I’ve had some prospects say it is the finish of an period,” Kraska said. “Some even say that even the scent of the area is like an outdated-time components retailer.”

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