Edward and Tyyne Lahti, a couple of young Finnish immigrants, founded the Lahti family business in 1928. Ed had received about ten years of orientation to the automobile business as a laborer in new vehicle manufacturing plants in the Cleveland area. Having learned the trade of metalworking, the thought of using this skill independently became an exciting idea, which eventually led the young couple to Leominster to open their very own auto body repair shop. And so it began, Leominster's first body shop, then known as "Fix-It Auto Body." Their reputation grew as quality service satisfied local residents. Their motto was "If we can't fix it, give it away."
The early years were not easy years; first the Depression, and then World War II. The war became frightening in a very personal way when their oldest son, Edwin, was drafted into military service and shipped to the Far East. By this time, there were three other little ones at home: Benjamin, Daniel, and Rachel, requiring Edward and Tyyne's attention as well. The end of the war, however, brought a sense of joy and serenity, and even success. Their son was delivered safely home from the jaws of the enemy and was working in the family business with his dad.
As the years passed, the business grew. Used cars were added and by the fifties, the Lahti's had acquired a new car franchise selling Nash vehicles. By the time the sixties rolled around, the two younger sons, Benjamin and Daniel, had also decided to pursue their careers in the family business.
It wasn't long before a merger of Nash and Hudson companies became known as American Motors, manufacturing interesting new products like Ramblers and later more exciting cars like Javelins and AMXs. By 1970, American Motors owned Jeep and consequently, the Lahti Dealership was on a whole new course. Later, American Motors consolidated forces with Renault to produce passenger cars, but Chrysler Corporation bought it all in 1987.
Long before this time, the elder Lahti's had relinquished control of the business to their three sons, each one overseeing specific areas of the business. Unfortunately, life consists of valley experiences as well as mountaintop. Beginning in the fall of 1992, the family found themselves in the valley for a year and a half, suffering the loss of both parents and their younger brother, Dan. However, life did go on.
In February of 2002, Benjamin's Son-in-Law, Jason Fournier, joined the business. With his arrival, Lahti's has entered into it's third generation and into the age of e-commerce.
The evolution of a family business from 1928 to the twenty-first century, a period of mind-boggling technological advances, makes for quite an adventure story. However, there are some things that do not change - must not change! The Lahti family is proud of its Christian heritage, with a personal philosophy as well as a business philosophy: that a faith in the Sovereign God is foundational to the success in all aspects of life.
223 Central StLeominster, MA 01453