By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL – Listening to Gerry Epps talk about small engines like generators or lawn mowers is a quick way to learn some valuable lessons.
Epps is 54 years old, but started working on small engines when he was a kid, learning from his father and grandfather. When he starts talking about those engines it is obvious he knows a lot of important facts that most people could use.
Epps, along with Stan and Danny Elmore, are now operating Scooter’s Small Engine Repair at 62277 Hwy. 11 between Slidell and Pearl River and know plenty about why so many generators, lawn mowers, weed eaters and other small engines quit running.
“The biggest thing people don’t know about small engines is that you can’t leave the gas in them through the winter, then start them up,” Gerry said.
“Most people don’t know that gas actually turns to varnish when it sits for a month or more,” Gerry said. “So don’t try to start your mower or generator with old fuel, it usually won’t work and it isn’t good for your engine.”
Scooter’s Small Engine Repair is a secondary business at the large lot on Hwy. 11 that most people traveling that road are familiar with. The location gets noticed a lot because it is also home to SOS—Survival Craft Offshore Services—that Stan Elmore started years ago. The survival crafts are used on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in the event of an emergency. Elmore used to work in the business, then saw an opportunity to start his own business by providing the crafts that look like small submarines.
“Yea, we get noticed a lot because of all the SOS crafts laying out in the yard,” Danny said. “Some people are so curious about them that they just stop here and ask us what they are for.”
SOS started in 1997 after Stan began selling crane services for offshore oil rigs, then he went into other support services for the rigs that led to SOS.
With the knowledge of Gerry and Danny with small engines, and the lot generally used for repairing the SOS crafts, the idea to expand with Scooter’s Small Engine Repair was born since they already have experienced mechanics working there.
Now they handle lawn mowers, generators, go karts, weed eaters, riding mowers—“anything with a one, two or four-cylinder engine,” Gerry said.
Gerry is originally from New Jersey and was a truck driver much of his professional career before he decided to settle on the North Shore when his truck driving days were finished. He was hired by SOS since he was so good with engines, and now he is using his talent in this area for small engines.
Danny graduated from Northeast Louisiana University with a Criminal Justice degree, but as so often happens when there is a family business, ended up working with his father.
Stan started as a salesman in the oil and gas industry, but obviously had an entrepreneurial spirit about him as he saw an opportunity to start his own company. After the crane services he moved to the SOS industry, where he now handles dozens of the crafts for offshore rigs.
As for small engines, Gerry said that they can handle any kind that needs repairs or maintenance.
“The best bit of advice I give people for their small engines is to drain the gas when a season is over,” he added. “Other than that, if something isn’t working, that’s where I come in. We can handle anything.”
He added that too many people trash their old mowers or generators, not realizing that an experienced mechanic like himself can make them run like new.
“Bring them over. You would be surprised how well we can make them run,” he said.
Scooter’s also handles sandblasting and painting, noting “no job is too small!”
For more information, call Scooter’s at 985-250-9774 or show up with your small engine at their lot on Highway 11.