GARRETT — Kenzie Davis will be holding special memories of her grandpa close to her heart this weekend.
Her wedding Saturday will be held under the canopy in front of the iconic Garrett Auto Trim site on East Quincy Street, a business founded by her grandfather, Jack Davis, who passed away five years ago.
“We were all very close,” she said of her grandpa. “The only way to be as close to him as I could that day was to get married at the shop that we grew up around. He’s had this shop since before we were born.”
Tom Davis — Jack’s son — is Kenzie’s dad and current owner of the building.
“He spent every waking hour here,” Tom Davis said.
His dad bought the concrete block building with one service door and no windows in 1977 that had once been used to store jukeboxes and paint. Jack Davis and some high school buddies punched out the concrete blocks for doors and windows.
The business began in 1966 in the two-car garage of the family home on the 500 block of South Randolph Street until space issues and zoning restrictions made moving to a new site necessary. Jack also worked full time for 23 years at International Harvester in Fort Wayne until it closed in 1983.
Kenzie’s grandma, Joyce Davis, gave her blessing to stage the wedding with about 50 invited guests in front of the shop.
“She asked me first. We shed a few tears. All-in-all, I am happy she is doing this way — it’s something different,” Joyce Davis said.
As young drivers, Kenzie shares how her grandpa took her and a cousin to the shop and showed them how to check tire pressure and fill low tires — gifting each of them their own tire pressure gauge.
She recalls riding in a Pontiac Catalina convertible her grandpa had recently restored in the 2013 Garrett Heritage Days Parade as a contestant in the Miss Garrett Pageant.
“Grandpa just finished it and wanted to show it off,” she said of the car. “We just got downtown and it completely turned off. Grandpa jumped out, steering and pushing it to the side of the street.”
They jumped into a Mustang convertible owned by Kenzie’s aunt who lived nearby and they finished the parade in the Ford.
Keeping with the auto theme, Tom Davis will drive the bride and her 10-month-old son, Kashton, from the back garage to the front of the building in a black 1958 Chevy Cameo pickup truck. He will then escort them to the altar in front of the gas pumps where she will marry Kit Phillips. Mark Claxton will officiate the ceremony set to begin at 4 p.m.
The couple will then be taken to a reception at the NATMUS in Auburn in a Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton. A vintage taxi from the museum will carry the wedding party to the reception.
“It’s not uncommon for folks to ask permission to stage their cars in front of the Garrett Auto Trim gas pumps for photos,” Tom Davis said. “I’m glad we can keep it in the family and nothing is going to change.”
When Jack Davis was in his final days, Kenzie asked him about his thoughts while in the hospital alone.
“’I just look back and think of all the things I wish I would have done; things I am proud of. I don’t ever want you, or any of you guys to ever be laying on your death bed and regret something you haven’t done — or something you wish you would have done,’” he told Kenzie.
“Grandpa said he wished he would have spent more time with the grandkids, and then he asked me for a hug, as he was crying. I am trying so hard to keep it together for him. My grandpa was not a hugger — that’s just who he was. And then he held me and told me he loved me.” More hugs and more tears followed.
“That’s probably my favorite memory,” she said of her grandpa. “That’s why I really wanted (the wedding) to be here, ’cause I know that grandpa would be proud — of all of us.”