From left to right, Eric, Manuela and Mathew Moreland own and operate Glen Cove Repair on the hill above Key Center. Photo: Danna Webster, KP News

The Glen Cove Repair automotive business materialized from the study, planning and determination of Eric Moreland’s youngest son, Mathew in 2012.

After graduating from Peninsula High School, Mathew started making plans for an automotive repair business built upon the foundation of his father’s successful experience. Together, father and son studied and practiced in a little remodeled garage near their home. With the addition of technician Riley Bilyeu, the business grew, justifying a larger facility. The machine shop on the hill above Key Center seemed the right new location. Five years later, it is a thriving, successful business for the Moreland family partnership.

Mathew said the best way to learn auto mechanics is from experience. “I could barely do an oil change,” he said. He learned everything from his father and Bilyeu. “It’s hard to learn from a book in this world. The book tells you two different things to do. And at least half the time that’s wrong,” Mathew said.

Father-to-son lessons and support are traditions in the Moreland family. Eric Moreland had the benefit of his father’s accounting skills as he developed an automotive repair business on the Key Peninsula 28 years ago. He started with a parts store called Riley’s located on the northwest corner of the Key Center intersection and added the Black Forest automotive garage in 2002. He ran both businesses until the demands of retail were consuming his time seven days a week. He turned his focus strictly to auto repair at Moreland and Sons until he sold it to Absolute Auto in 2007.

“After five years off, Mathew and I started talking; he was looking to do this,” Eric said. Many of Eric’s former customers returned to Glen Cove Repair. Dealing correctly with customers means treating them the way the Morelands expect to be treated, Eric said. Give them facts, options and some guidance. How to repair the car is ultimately the customer’s decision. According to Eric, Mathew’s projects are affordable and assure that the shop has the right equipment and right quality for the safety of the technicians. “He’s the one who built the business,” Eric said. “Our plan is to retire.”

Consideration and support of the community is key to the Moreland’s business practices, Eric said. These range from Christmas parties to calls to join them donating to Key Peninsula services, including the year they gave 800 pounds of food and $1,000 to Food Backpacks 4 Kids.

Eric’s favorite cause was the Passion Project, a work-training program developed by KP resident Dennis Taylor and the YMCA for students who had been expelled or suspended from high school. The students met every Saturday morning for three months to learn basic mechanics. Eric designed the study modules, cleaned the shop and made the coffee. The students’ work was graded and the class was evaluated as a success.

“I have had a great time out here,” Eric said about his 28 years in business. “Seeing people’s (customers’) kids driving in their cars to us. It’s neat to be part of that community. And all three shops do a great job,” he said, explaining that all three automotive shops on the Key Peninsula do good work and that the Key Peninsula can support all three. He said that “Jay [Key Center Auto] started in 2003 and Jim [Absolute Auto] started in 2007. Pat, at Northwest Auto [retired] first,” Eric said. “I’ve enjoyed this. I want Matt to have a good chance to be successful.”

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