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Your Tewksbury Today

People You Know - Jim Boudreau, Boudreau's Automotive

May 27, 2015 09:09AM ● By Hollie Gonzalez

Jim Boudreau of Boudreau's Automotive

Jim Boudreau's Automotive.  A beautiful fixture on Main Street in Tewksbury for over 35 years.
I wonder what makes a business tick in this town for all those years.  I wonder what Jim Boudreau is like personally.  My initial game plan was to call up Boudreau's and ask to speak with Jim and see if we could get together to talk.
I was totally surprised when Jim Boudreau himself answered the phone.  This is apparently the norm at Boudreau's.   He was immediately on board.  So my journey into the world of Jim Boudreau begins.  Please read on and see what he is all about.
What makes him tick and ticked off...
Hollie Gonzalez - What was it like to open a business here?
Jim Boudreau - Well, I started a long time ago.  It was hard when I was first trying to open my shop in Tewksbury.  I really had to make a lot of promises to the town at that time because they were not willing to issue many licenses for businesses.  I had to promise not to make my business look like a junk yard.  The town was afraid I would become a scrap yard or some kind of trashy garage that would hurt the image of Main Street.  I have always kept up my end of the bargain.  I keep my business very well manicured.  From the building itself, to the property and landscaping.  I not only maintain my parcel, but also go down Main Street to the next street, and go up and over to the next plaza and upkeep that property as well. 
HG - What do you think makes for longevity in this town?
JB - I grew my business from a three bay automotive service center to a full service six bay shop.  Hard work is the key to success not only in Tewksbury, but anywhere.  I think it is also very important to make your business look nice.  Appearance is very important.  Providing good quality service, and being honest and upfront speaks for itself, as I can attest to for all these years.  You want people to feel comfortable and welcome.
HG - What changes have you seen in Tewksbury over the years?
JB - Besides the enormous population jump, it would most certainly be Strip Malls.  They have come fast.  There are so many in town now.  I just wish that the owners of those malls and properties would keep their spaces neat and clean, especially on the outside.  I think the reason some of the businesses that move in and out so quickly fail because of the lack of care for their physical building.  If you see a business where the outside is decrepit and falling apart, you will probably think of going elsewhere to shop.
HG - Ok, so lets address the hugh "Elephant" across the street.  The giant empty old Direct Auto Parts building.
JB - ...(with a major head nod) I don't even know what to say.  It was supposed to be a Panera Bread years ago which would have been fantastic for this town, but they built it wrong and it fell down.  They cleared out the mess and never put anything back in there.  It is really too bad because that is a great piece of real estate in Tewksbury.  I don't even care at this point what would end up there as long as it is clean and well suited for Tewksbury.
HG - I've noticed that you provide the use of your lot for a lot school activities and fundraisers in the town.  What other ways does Jim Boudreau's contribute to the community?
JB - Well back in the day, I used to personally fix up all the ball fields in town.  Now I sponsor a lot of youth activities in town.  I have two signs at the East Street baseball fields for Little League.  Sponsorship and community involvement is a great way for me to give back to Tewksbury and my customers. 
HG - So I have to ask about the giant American Flag outside.
JB - It is 30 feet by 38 feet.  I buy two a year and replace it as needed to keep it looking so beautiful.  But there is a story behind it too. My father-in-law was in a Nazi concentration camp.  He was branded and everything.  When he came here to America he was able to make a new life for himself.  America means so much to my family.  He would always say, "Only in America can you have your very own business."  Words I remember and remind myself of every day.  I fly that flag in honor of him.  But it I know it means a lot to many people.
HG - When I was younger I remember seeing the commercials on TV with the kids coming out of the race car as it whipped into the Boudreau's parking lot.  Who were those kids and how old are they now?
JB - ( with a loving smile of pride ) Those were my kids.  Mark is 32 now, he was about 8 or 9 then.  Leah is 30 now, she was around 7 or 8, and Sarah is 27.  She would have been about 6.  I have been trying to get my hands on those tapes for a very long time now.  I would love to re-run that commercial now.
HG - Do you still race cars? ( his office is adorned with trophies and medals, too many to count )
JB - Race cars, drag cars.  In 2010 I was inducted in to the New England Drag Way Hall of Fame in Epping, New Hampshire.
HG - What would you like to see in Tewksbury now?
JB - More clean up days.  The town did a great job with that.  That is very important around here.  I would love to see businesses clean up the sidewalks outside their shops and not ignore the buffers between them.  That really irks me.  Some kind of zoning law where businesses have to keep their parking lots and properties free from debris and junk would be a very positive addition.  Also, have you noticed all the crooked and double telephone poles in town?  I would love that to be addressed too.
HG - What would be Jim Boudreau's best advise to up and coming businesses and companies just starting out in this town?
JB - Don't go into a business you don't know anything about.  Make sure you keep up with the times and the changing market frequently.  It was a whole different world fixing cars in 1980 versus fixing cars in 2015.
I laugh over a few things with Jim as we head outside on this perfectly sunny day to snap his photo in front of that amazing flag that has a whole new meaning now to me.  Jim is an extremely honest man who truly seeks to have Tewksbury one day be all completely beautiful.  I love his expectations and wish him well on his quest.  You can check out his flag and pretty landscape while you run in for all your automotive service needs at 2184 Main Street.  Don't be surprised to find him behind the counter!
Quick 5 - Jim Boudreau
Best Book I Ever Read - I am really not a reader
Last thing I cooked was - Steaks
Only thing you would want on a deserted island - My wife
Favorite Animal - Brady, my Lhasa Apso puppy
Don't ask me to -- Read
But I am always willing to -- 
(Hollie Gonzalez is married with two kids.  She lives in Tewksbury and is very passionate about this town.)
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