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Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing: From pro sports to a local garage (2 photos)

The subject of this week’s Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing is Wakefield Oil Change Plus, an oil change and car repair shop on Cumberland.

THUNDER BAY -- Gary Linquist’s life has come full circle.

As a teenager, he was into cars and got a job at a garage. He might have stayed there and moved up, eventually owning his own full-service garage, but the call of hockey was mighty. His father, Gary Linquist Sr. had been a player and trainer with the Thunder Bay Twins in the 70s and 80s. His son, too, played hockey and that became his career, eventually becoming marketing manager for CCM Hockey.

After a quarter of a century in pro sports, Linquist was ready for a change. His uncle Bob Weatherbee, who owned Wakefield Oil Change Plus, was looking to sell and retire. “So I decided to switch to this,” Linquist says. “Obviously cars have evolved, but I stepped right back into it. Within a week, I felt like I’d been here 20 years!”

Linquist took over the business in July 2018. “The location is good because on the Port Arthur side there really isn’t a quick lube available,” he says.

He employs four full-time employees. “Even though we’re a quick lube, you can see the same faces every time. Other places have a higher turnover. Our mechanic has been here 21 years, the lube person has been here 16 years. The other two are out of high school,” explains Linquist. “It’s a family business, and it’s a good place to work. I brought the big business mentality, so it’s a small business, but run like a big business.”

Linquist has no regrets about his career change. “I’m amazed more people don’t do it,” he says about being a small business owner in Thunder Bay. “People shouldn’t be scared to do it. People hold back because there’s nervousness about risk and all that, but I think that risk is something that pushes you daily to survive. So I enjoy that.”

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