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Here's to Norb and every small-business owner

By Joe Centers • Mar 5, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Another day. Another accident to cover.

There was a two-vehicle crash Friday morning at the corner of U.S. 20 and Hartland Center Road, right in front of the C Stop convenient store.

Just looking at the cars, the first thought was somebody had to die. Fortunately, nobody did, but four people were injured.

As the clean-up was going on I saw one guy with a shovel scraping up the broken glass and car parts. It’s a familiar face around accidents.

Norb Simon was right there, just like he has been thousands of times before. 

Talk about dedication. His wife Janice has just died and he was preparing for a funeral. He stopped into the shop just to see what was going on right when Frank Resor was responding to the call. So Norb jumped in the truck with Frank and headed out to do what he does best.

Maybe it took his mind off his wife. Maybe it was a good thing.

Norb Simon started his career in the business in 1969 at the old gas station on the southwest corner of League Street and Whittlesey Avenue in Norwalk. He got out of the gas business and moved to St. Mary’s Street, right across from Whitney Field. He’s got a two-bay repair shot and a fleet of tow trucks. His business now is called Norb’s North Side Service.

Next year Simon will celebrate his 50th year in the business.

I have given him a lot of my money over the years. Simon was the AAA guy in town, so every time I broke down (which was quite a few), I’d give him a call. Living on the other end of St. Mary’s Street, it didn’t take long for he or Frank to be there. 

I stopped by the funeral home Sunday afternoon and we were talking about it. I even pulled out my phone and showed everybody my contacts ... right there where I can reach him ... “Norb’s Service.”

What does that tell you when two of your most popular contact calls are Norb’s and Pizza Post?

Norb’s doesn’t have the fancy computer to work on your car. Simon and his crew do the basic things such as oil changes, brakes, mufflers and all of the aggravating jobs that keep your car on the road.

I remember all of the times when I did have work done on my car I’d stop in and pay the bill. Janice would be sitting there in her chair smoking a cigarette and working on the computer (many times playing a game or two). 

She’s gladly take my cash or run my card through the machine. She was just as much a part as Norb’s business as he was.

She will be missed, but you can be sure her husband will go on.

It’s guys like Simon whom all business owners should look up to. Running your own business never is easy. When I came to Norwalk in 1979 there were a lot of guys like Norb Simon running their own business. Bob Landoll comes to mind. He ran a repair shop right up the street from the Reflector.

Here’s a tip of the cap to Norb and Janice Simon and to every small-business owner. 

Hard work really does pay off.

 

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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