Patch interviewed Rich & Ray's owner of seven years, Mark Conlon.
How long have you owned Rich & Ray's: I have owned Rich & Ray’s for seven years.
How long has Rich & Ray’s been in business: Since 1970.
How did Rich & Ray’s get its name: The name came from Rich Onofrio and Ray Collins. I bought the business from Rich seven years ago. They started it in 1970 and just had a good reputation so I kept the name and here we are today.
What's the history of the business: They’ve always worked on all types of vehicles – mostly mechanical but I do a little more with detailing and mechanical. I do some bodywork and towing. We do anything and everything here that really features the automobile … even emissions stuff. I do everything I can here to help people.
What makes Rich & Ray’s unique: Safety comes first. The way I look at it I have a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a son, a wife. I have to think about me being on the other side of the desk – what do I have to do safety-wise first. And also I have to think about money because of the economy – you have to work with people.
You have to be fair and honest and do good work. It’s pretty simple. Especially in the automotive business some of us have a bad name. I believe being honest and doing good work are the two biggest things in this business to do it right, to do it well, and to keep a good customer base.
What do you like best about town: It’s small and everyone knows everybody. There’s two sides to every story but I get a lot more positive feedback around here. Everyone talks and word-of-mouth is your best advertisement. It feels good to go through town and hold my head high and be able to see customers and be able to talk to people. I feel good about it. I feel I run a good business and try to be as efficient as we can. We try to do a good job and take care of our customers.
What do you least like about town: I don’t feel that the bigger organizations like the police department and the fire department – they should be outfitted so that everybody gets a little bit of both. Originally Rich said to me the way it was written up in town everybody gets a little bit of each to be fair to everybody in town. It’s not like that anymore. They use one place or go where they want to go.
The way it’s written up in the Town Hall it’s not like that and it bothers me a little bit. They favor certain people and don’t give certain people a chance. I used to work on the Clinton police cars and for whatever reason they have a choice where they want to go supposedly but from what I understand that’s not true. I just think everybody should be fair. Even big companies like the Water Company – I think everybody should just help each other out.
Fondest memory of town: Clinton was one of the first towns around with a McDonald's. The funny thing is Rich & Ray’s used to be right across from McDonald's at that time. That’s not where they started out but it’s where they were most of the time. I remember my mom taking me to McDonald's and I remember like it was yesterday looking across the street at all the cool and neat cars, and that was Rich & Ray’s! I didn’t know it at the time and I didn’t know it would be my place someday.
Any personal thoughts you'd like to share: I’m in the sticks out here and not many people know I’m out here. It’s very difficult to advertise out here especially when I’m not allowed to put signs out. I have to do a lot of word-of-mouth and I have to find other ways. I want to connect with the Chamber of Commerce and get more involved in town; I think they’ll help me.
A lot of people go by here, see the storage units, and don’t even think there’s anything here.
| 112 Nod Road | 860-669-6673