Born in Arbroath, Scotland in 1944, Ken Williamson’s family immigrated to Canada in 1947 when he was just 3 years old. “I was born in Scotland, and then moved to Canada, so I had enough cold,” said Williamson. “I’d rather be hot than cold any day.” So he packed up and immigrated again to the United States, spending his teenage years and early adulthood in San Diego, California. “In 1972 I was transferred from San Diego to Palm Desert to be the rep for about 40 stations from Blythe to Fallbrook.”
By 1988 Williamson bought and ran his own gas stations. “I established my business as a service station. I was still giving customers full service in 1988.” For 23 years, Williamson had four stations in the Valley, two of them in Palm Desert. He last owned the Chevron across from the Westfield Mall. Eventually he sold the gas station back to Chevron, since they were limiting their automotive repair options to focus on retail within their mini-marts. “I thought I wanted to be in auto repair; I should have been in the mini-mart business though. Your biggest complaint is a bad Twinkie!” he joked.
Following the sale of his Chevron, he bought a property off Cook Street to begin his automotive repair business and towing company. “I bought this land so that I would not have to move again,” said Williamson. “All of my six children, and now several of my grandchildren, have worked in this business. How many people get to work with their children every day?”
He eventually sold his towing company, Palms to Pines Towing, to further focus on quality service at his auto repair shop, Palms to Pines Automotive, which has been in business ever since and is celebrating its 45th anniversary!
“People are keeping cars longer, so they require more upkeep and repair. I provide a service that people don’t mind paying for…you don’t stay in business for 45 years if you don’t care about your customers.”
Ken Williamson is now 77 years young, and has no plans to retire or sell the business soon. He loves what he does. “I enjoy going to work every day,” Williamson said. “Palm Desert has been good to me. I have lived here and made a living for 49 years…I am thankful every day.”
For your auto service needs, call Ken Williamson at 760-346-3115 or visit Palms to Pines at 74725 Joni Drive, Palm Desert.