Celebrating Laura Leech!

Celebrating Laura Leech and her 38 years with Auto-Wares

Laura Leech is a long-time employee of Auto-Wares, celebrating 38 years this past August. Over the course of her journey, she has worn many different hats, and championed our ‘Never Say No Stance’ with her commitment to our customers, her coworkers, and the company as a whole. Today and every day, we celebrate her and are truly thankful for everything she does!

Laura’s journey began in February of 1984. As we all do, she anticipated the prospects of her first ‘real’ job. Dressed to the nines, she went into her interview where she would be offered the role of working nights in our Grand Rapids warehouse. At this time, our warehouse didn’t have a conveyor system or heat, this was hard exhausting work, but her hard work never wavered. One day while working diligently out on the floor, our owner, Fred Bunting, came out to her and sat on a skid in the zone she was working in. Of course, over the years, the exact wording of what took place was lost, but essentially, he proposed the idea of her taking over the catalog room. Considering that in the early years, all automotive stores and service centers utilized catalogs, this was a huge task, and Laura was understandably hesitant. Fred encouraged her to give it a shot, and the rest is history.     

I can hear the smile in her voice, even if I can’t physically see her smiling.

Fred Bunting, Foudner of Auto-Wares Group of Companies

From that day, the catalog room and Laura went hand in hand. If you mention the catalog room everyone knows Laura and can tell you a million stories of how she has helped them and made their job easier. Laura would spend her days stuffing and mailing bulletins, and catalogs, updating MSDS sheets, completing labor claim forms, building, and shipping catalogs and the list goes on. The extent of what she has done for this company cannot be summed up in such a short post. Today Laura still does some mailings, but as catalogs have moved to a digital format, she is doing less of that. Laura now wears the hat of our receptionist, at our corporate office. She is the friendly, smiling face you will see when you walk through our doors and I can assure you, she will take care of you and make sure your needs are met. She truly puts the ‘serve’ in customer service.

And while we are thankful for all Laura has done for Auto-Wares, she assures us that we have done some wonderful things for her as well. She tells us that this is the type of company where you become good friends with other employees and customers alike, to the point that they become members of your family. For Laura, this couldn’t be more true. In fact, it was at Auto-Wares where Laura would meet her now husband of 32 years. At the time they met, Laura was working in the catalog room and her husband worked in our returns department. She would see him in passing, but they didn’t talk often until one day over lunch, they began chatting about a book she was reading, a western. They realized they both had a lot in common.  After dating for a while, he showed up on her mother’s porch, dressed in his Marine Corps dressed blues, and asked her to marry him. Her job, now and always, is a constant reminder of the beginning of her career and of her family.

 We know that there is a story behind each and every one of our employees. We are thankful for Laura Leech and her story!

Laura Leech, 2022
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