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Butch Rushing started his automotive business at 810 W. Davis in 1970.

Just one month shy of 45 years in business, and Rushing has decided to retire. Butch’s was a family business; Rushing’s two sons worked with him there, and he had the same secretary for 38 years.

The lifelong mechanic started having back pain last year and has had two back surgeries recently. Rushing, 74, sold the building last week to Jeff and Pam Dowling.

The Dowlings plan to renovate the shop and possibly turn it into a restaurant space. Jeff Dowling is a pharmacist, and Pam Dowling is an interior decorator. They have one son who is an architect and another son in the construction business, and they like investing in commercial real estate. They previously bought and renovated a 1925 cottage on McKinney Avenue, which now houses Cliff’s Bar and Grill, aka the new Loon.

Jeff Dowling says he’s already had calls from a motorcycle company and a gym operator who were interested in leasing the 3,000-square-foot space. He says he thinks a restaurant would be its “highest and best use,” but that would be a very expensive renovation.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” he says. “We’ll just clean it up and wait for just the right person to come along.”

Rushing says he plans to focus on a shop he owns on Main Street in Duncanville, which sells parts and rebuilds transmissions. That shop never has made a profit, so he intends to see if he can make some money with it. He says he hates to leave the West Davis shop, but it’s time.

“We got a fair price for it, and I think everybody’s happy, so that makes for a good deal,” he says.