Local couple provides small-engine repair, emergency response training
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:04 PM
ARLINGTON Don Briggs and Debbie Hongslo are not only getting married this summer, theyre also bringing their part-time businesses together.
Hongslo started her medical emergency response training business back in 2002, but it wasnt until this winter that Briggs got the idea to restart his small-engine repair business.
I started out messing around with go-karts as a kid and moved up to repairing small engines in high school, said Briggs, co-owner of D and D Mowers and More with Hongslo. At first, I was working out of a trailer park on rented land, but word of mouth spread. I lost my clientele when I moved from Spokane. This past December, though, I was working on our generator when I found out that the closest place that could help me out with parts was in Lake Stevens.
Briggs plans to provide Arlington residents with a local shop for their small-engine needs, including lawnmowers, weed-eaters, chainsaws, generators and riding mowers. Hes considering opening his doors to ATVs, but because of his land-locked location, he doubts hell ever be able to serve boat owners. After all, he doesnt have enough water to test out their motors.
We make sure to detail everything before we hand it back, Hongslo said. An important part of customer service is returning clean equipment to people, so they dont have to wash the grease and grime off themselves.
Even though summer is just starting, Hongslo is already thinking of how she and Briggs can serve Arlington residents safety needs for the winter.
Considering the number of people who have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, we want to teach people how to use generators and barbecues properly, Hongslo said. They need to know that generators shouldnt be used in enclosed spaces and barbecues should not be used indoors, even if the power has gone out and youre trying to keep warm.
Hongslo has experience in helping people stay safe. She began working with Hewlett-Packard in 1980 to develop emergency response teams among its employees, training them in areas such as CPR, first aid, defibrillators, first response, triage. As a registered nursing assistant, Hongslo has also done stints at adult care centers and the first aid room for the University of Washingtons Huskies.
I train people to work as teams in the event of emergencies, Hongslo said. I teach classes and create manuals for them. Even if youre a smaller company, I can create an emergency response team with three or five people.
Many of Hongslos current customers have more available employees than that, since MERTs client list has grown to include not only a subdivision of her former employers at Hewlett-Packard, but also B.F. Goodrich, Naval Radio Station Jim Creek in Arlington and the KING-5 television station in Seattle.
To contact either D and D Mowers and More or MERT, call 360-435-3946, or fax 360-435-9176.