When you walk along the west corridor of the East Village, few businesses have been standing longer than Lee’s Transmissions. Opened in 1967 by Lee Cartwright, the humble shop at 1350 East Hastings Street has become a fixture in the area, servicing happy customers for nearly five decades. Walt started working in 1980 as a junior employee at Lee’s, and has now owned the place for over twenty years. “I had a feeling one day would own an auto shop but didn’t think it would be this one,” he tells us with a smile. “It all just fell into place. My boss Rodger retired in 1995. That’s when I took over, and have been the owner ever since.” When it comes to his day-to-day routine, Walt handles pretty much everything at the shop. “I do everything from answering telephones, dealing with customer concerns and road testing with customers. I also look after the overall management of the business. I just love meeting and talking to all the different people.” Some of Walt’s favorite places to shop in the area are Red Wagon, Sorrento Barbers, TD Bank, and Gourmet Warehouse, who has been his neighbor for over 17 years. Having worked in the community for so long, Walt tells us it’s refreshing for him to see positive changes that are happening. “[The East Village] has become established over the years and there is really a community spirit,” he explains. “Programs like the Business Improvement Associations also help solidify this relationship.” Arguably more than any industry, Walt’s is one that depends heavily on word of mouth, and he says he is proud of the long-standing reputation which Lee’s Transmissions has maintained over the years. “I still get people who come in and say ‘I remember coming in with my dad!’ and now they come in as adults. I have customers who also knew Lee Cartwright.” Positive online sentiment has been an important marketing tool for Walt, and he’s savvy when it comes to today’s consumer needs, keeping current with social media. A member of the BBB and the ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association), Lee’s does much more than transmission repairs. The qualified team can help with everything from brake repair, exhaust, tire rotations, pumps, tune-ups or a basic oil change. Visit their website, and get social through Facebook and Twitter.