Thanks for the Memories

Jennifer and David Helmly. Photos by M. Taylor.

Good Old Days closes shop in Deale 

By Jillian Amodio 

Good Old Days Auto Service in Deale has been more than just an auto repair shop. It has been a staple in the community, a hangout spot, and a beloved presence. After being at the shop for over 20 years, Daniel Helmly is selling the business and moving on to a slower pace of life with his wife Jennifer and their family.  

Good Old Days has actually been around since 1985, and after coming on as an auto technician in 2000, Helmly quickly moved his way up to ownership. He says the reason behind the name isn’t that they work on old cars, but rather it pays homage to the type of service their customers can expect to receive. “We give you the type of attention and service you would have gotten back in the good old days.” Over the last two decades Helmly says the thing he has enjoyed most about the business is the ability to help people even beyond taking care of their car maintenance needs.  

Jennifer Helmly has worked for the business full time for the last seven years at the front desk. “I have loved the social interaction and I always joke that it was like hosting a talk show with all of the neighborhood talk,” she said. “Some neighbors would just come talk and hang out just because, even if they didn’t have a car being worked on. It’s going to be sad to leave but it’s a good time for a transition.” 

 The decision to sell the business was not an easy one to come to, but after being told by his surgeon that he could not continue this type of work, he began to plan for the future. Helmly is scheduled for back surgery which will provide him with much-needed pain relief. 

Staff and community came together last week for a goodbye party in Helmly’s honor. “Everybody came over with balloons, champagne, and presents and well wishes. They talked about all of the cleaning up and remodeling of the place that I had done over the years and how great I have built it up and expanded,” Helmly says.  

The Helmlys with technician Mike Seaborn (far right).

Customers say he poured his heart into building and expanding—creating a top-notch auto repair shop, beautifully remodeled, and expanded from the original two auto bays to four. 

The Helmlys say they will miss the hustle and bustle of the auto shop and recall fondly how they were known for being able to fix issues that other shops seem to have had trouble diagnosing or remedying.  

When asked what the future holds, Helmly says AJ Neely of Neely Automotive is buying the building. He says that there is a sense of relief that comes with the sale, but also a sense of sadness. “Even though I am leaving behind the business, I still have the support of the community and that feels great.” 

Jennifer shares the sentiment, saying that while they may not see their customers anymore in the shop, they are looking forward to more time spent with family and seeing their customers around town. The biggest thing the Helmlys say they want to leave with is a sense of gratitude to the community for their ongoing support and kindness. 

Helmly is looking forward to starting a new job after recovering from surgery where he will be calibrating cameras in self-driving vehicles. “I won’t be doing any of the heavy lifting anymore, but I like the technical stuff too,” he says. “I am turning 60 in November and I still need something to keep me busy.”