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Cedar Mill News
Volume 3, Issue 5


May 2005

Du Fresne's shop at 107th and Cornell

Featured Business
Du Fresne's Auto Service

By Virginia Bruce, editor

It’s a little unusual, even these days, to find a woman running an automotive business. Nancy Scheene has been in the business since 1965, when she began to work for a firm that did bookkeeping for service stations. She and her husband, Ron DuFresne, opened their first Shell service station in southeast Portland in 1968. Eventually they added three more Shell stations around the area, including the one at the corner of Murray and Cornell (now a vacant lot) and one at 107th and Cornell, the site of her current business.

Shell pulled out of the Portland market in 1991, although they returned later, but by then Nancy and her husband had sold the other properties and converted the 107th and Cornell site from a service station to an auto repair facility.

Nancy Scheewe offers espresso and snacks to customers

“We wish we had more property, but the county would not let us rebuild, so we had to remodel and moved in 1993,” Nancy recalls. They added space on three sides of the original building, converting from a two-bay gas station to a six-bay auto repair facility.

“We started the drive-thru espresso at the Murray Road location, after Shell pulled out of the market and we had no gas,” Nancy mentions. “Someone suggested putting a cart out on the pump island for espresso. Boy, was it cold in the winter out there! When we moved up the street we decided to put the espresso machine inside.” Lots of early commuters appreciate their convenient service.

When Nancy’s husband died in 1995, she hired Dave Harden to be the Service Writer. Dave used to own the Chevron station opposite Sunset High. He test-drives customers’ vehicles to verify the reported problem, then assigns the work to be done, orders the parts, and test-drives the vehicles again to make sure the repair was done right before the customer is notified.

Other employees include Technician Larry Kosse, who started as a service station attendant in 1972, right out of high school, and worked his way up to become an ASE Certified mechanic. “He does it all from electrical to drivability,” says Nancy. Gerry Reid, a master ASE Technician and DEQ certified mechanic, started working for DuFresne’s in 1987. “He does everything from engine transplants to air conditioning repairs.”

Larry Kosse wraps up an engine repair

Scott Cabrera is an expert lube technician who began working with them in 1998. He does a thorough check of each vehicle, including preventive maintenance checks, and washes windows and vacuums every vehicle with each oil change.

Nancy’s daughter Tanya DuFresne Clunas returned to work for them in June 2003. Nancy recalls, “She started out washing walls in the shop as a little girl, then went on to pump gas and keep the books, and now she runs our marketing program.”

“Our people are always going to school to keep up with the new technology,” she says. “Plus we have four computer programs to help diagnose and work on vehicles.” They are a AAA-approved facility. “This puts new customers at ease, because they know they can always go to AAA if a problem arises,” Nancy explains. “We are also on the honor roll with the Better Business Bureau.”

They work on most domestic and import vehicles. They “do it all” from oil changes to engine overhaul (with the exception of rebuilding auto transmissions). Nancy says, “We do a lot of drivability issues, electrical problems and DEQ. With the new computer cars, you must have good knowledge and equipment.”

DuFresne’s has two principles that guide the business. “Our whole business philosophy is based on doing it right the first time, and we treat our customers like we would like to be treated,” Nancy says. “We pick up and take customers home. Sometime we have to help carry groceries in the house, get down tires from the garage or whatever it takes. Because of our philosophy, we take care of a lot of widow’s cars after their husbands have died. They trust us. We have a deep responsibility to our customers. A lot of our customers have been with us for over 20 years.”

DuFresne’s is located at 107th and Cornell. Their phone number is 503-646-2940, and they have a website (with coupons!) at www.dufresnesautorepair.com.

Nancy's car is in for a tuneup



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The Cedar Mill News
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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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Portland, OR 97229