In the early 1980’s, two friends decided to open an import auto repair shop. They built Siskiyou Import Services on a commitment to quality repairs and vehicle maintenance as well as friendly service. The good word of mouth from their customers helped the business become a staple of the Ashland community.
In that same time, Bow DeBey was growing up and was fascinated with cars. Mechanically inclined from an early age, he loved to take motors apart and put them back together so that they worked better than before. Bow knew the original owners of Siskiyou Imports through his father, who brought his cars there for repairs. When he was a student at Ashland High, Bow took as many auto shop classes as he possibly could and competed with the Ashland High School auto club at statewide competitions, winning the right to represent the school nationally. After high school, Bow’s auto shop teacher recommended Bow for an entry level position that was open at Siskiyou Imports. The owners hired Bow, and at just 19 years old he began working for Siskiyou Import Services as a technician, maintaining and repairing cars for the people of the community he grew up in.
After a year of working for Siskiyou Imports, Bow decided to spread his wings and move from Ashland to Eugene. He worked in the auto repair industry there, and supported himself by working on friend’s cars in his home garage, until deciding to work for CarQuest Auto Parts as a delivery person and later salesperson. At CarQuest he increased his knowledge of auto parts and sources while honing his customer service skills and using his experience as a mechanic to help customers. During this time of living and working in Eugene, Bow also met Heather, who was a graduate student in costume design at the University of Oregon.
Time went by, and Bow followed Heather to Denver where she was working for the Denver Center Theatre Company and Denver School of the Arts. Bow continued working for CarQuest, moving up from counter person to assistant manager. Living and working in a large metropolitan area made it harder for them to raise their family with the same level of connection to community that they both felt when they were growing up, so when they had the opportunity to move back to Ashland they knew it was the right choice.
Initially, Bow continued to work with CarQuest as the manager of the Medford store, but the demands of the job and the commute to work just didn’t balance with the type of home life that he wanted. One day he stopped by to visit the owners of Siskiyou Imports and see how they were doing. They had an opening for a technician, and hired Bow. Happy to again be working on cars and living in his hometown where he was close to his extended family, Bow turned wrenches for about a year before the owners approached him and asked if he would be willing to run the office for them. They were eager to retire, and knew that his customer service and communication skills would be a terrific asset to them. Bow loved the opportunity to talk with customers and use his managerial skills to keep the business running while the owners had time away.
Then, in 2007, the owners asked Bow if he and Heather would like to buy the business from them. They knew that they were leaving it in the qualified hands of people who would value the relationships that they had built with their customers. Honored to be given the opportunity to keep such an established part of the Ashland community vibrant and thriving, Bow and Heather bought Siskiyou Import Services and strive to keep the same commitment to quality repairs, vehicle maintenance and friendly customer service that the original owners built the business on in the 1980’s.
Over the last five years Bow and Heather have continued to build the business, adding a service writer to our team of technicians. Our commitment to the Ashland community is important to us. Heather also works for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Bow has mentored several students from Ashland High School who were working on auto repair related senior projects.