Grass is greener for Edmonds’ lawn mower whisperer

It’s a mowerapoolza at this Edmonds Way repair shop west of Highway 99.

A battalion of 100 lawn mowers stands at the ready on a hill by the busy road. Row after row, with blades sharpened, engines tuned, cables tight, filters clean as a whistle.

What’s up with that?

It’s Lee Hoang’s livelihood and passion: restoring mowers to return to battle.

“I also fix weedwackers and chain saws and all that stuff,” he said.

Hoang turned to lawn machine repair about three years ago.

“I’ve been working on cars for 25 years but it gets harder and harder with computers and new technology,” said Hoang, 57.

“Lawn mowers are easier. People just don’t want to pay for car repair, even though it is such hard work. But lawn mowers, people are so happy to pay. People are very nice.”

In his two-bay garage, he still repairs cars in winter and between reviving the swarms of mowers that have taken over the place.

The refurbished lawn mowers start at about $80.

“The older stuff sometimes is better than the newer ones. The older ones sometimes just run forever. I have some that are 20 years old,” he said. “So many people they throw it away. So I fix it up and sell it.”

Some just need a little TLC. Others need a lot.

Now’s the time to bring in your mower for servicing.

“People leave their mowers outside. Water gets in there. I clean up the carburetor. When they cut the grass so much dirt goes through their engine,” he said.

Hoang doesn’t buy used mowers, but he’ll take your old one off your hands.

“Today people left about five lawn mowers,” he said. “If I don’t fix it, I recycle. Sometimes people come here and say they don’t have enough money, so I give them a break. If they don’t have money I fix it for free.”

Hoang didn’t speak English or know anybody when he came from Vietnam age 24, making his way from Boston to Seattle.

Now, he’s a married with a 12-year-old daughter. “My wife has a good job,” he said.

After work, he doesn’t go home and cut the grass. Ironically, the lawn mower guru doesn’t have much of a lawn. “I have gravel,” he said.

Want to see Hoang in action at the repair shop? Stop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 23904 Edmonds Way in Edmonds or call him at 425-670-6700.

Send What’s Up With That? suggestions to Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown. Read more What’s Up With That? at www.heraldnet.com/whatsup.

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