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From mowers to blowers, fix-it guy keeps garden gadgets going

Rows of mowers and walk-behind gardening gadgets wait for pickup outside Jay's Mower and Chainsaw. Inside, the smell of oil and machinery laces the air, mowers hang from the ceiling and spill across the floor, and tools are strewn everywhere.

Jay La Violette owns the shop, located at 3935 N. Williams Ave. Fixing small engines is in his genes: He started at his father's side when he was 12, and at 46 he's still at it.

Since opening the sharpening and repair shop in 1990, he's specialized in mowers, chain saws, hedge trimmers, pruners, blowers and generators.

A machine doesn't have to have an engine to benefit from Jay's ministrations. He gets five to 10 push mowers each day.

'There's been a resurgence of push mowers,' he says. 'It's good for the environment, it's good for your heart, and it's good for the neighbors' ears. And push mowers don't have the problems that motorized mowers have. You can leave them sitting all winter, and they're guaranteed to start right up in the spring.'

Ñ Kate Gawf