Shop local: Boyette’s Automotive Performance Machine Shop

John D. Boyette, Sr., owner of Boyette's Automotive Performance Machine Shop, a Raleigh family-owned business since 1949.

John D. Boyette, Sr., owner of Boyette’s Automotive Performance Machine Shop, a Raleigh family-owned business since 1949.

 

photograph by Travis Long

“I used to come down here, 12 or 13 years old, and sweep up on Saturdays. Daddy would give us a dollar. We worked hard; we earned that dollar. Then we could go uptown and go to a show and get some popcorn and a drink, all for a dollar.” – John Boyette, owner, Boyette’s Automotive Performance Machine Shop

Back when James “J.L.” Boyette opened Boyette’s Automotive Performance Machine Shop in 1949, there were only a handful of other mechanics and auto shops in Raleigh. Sixty-six years later, Boyette’s is still going strong in the same downtown location. The neighborhood might have transformed around it into the hip Warehouse District, but John Boyette, who took over the shop from his father a few decades ago, has kept the place going by sticking to tradition and focusing on his strengths. “We just do machine work,” he says. “We work on engines; we don’t do mechanic work.” He’s got a network of longtime loyal customers, and they’re usually the ones responsible for referring new ones. The family business is all set to keep going. Boyette’s older son works at the shop with him six days a week, and his younger son lives in South Carolina but helps with IT needs when they arise. “My daddy wanted to go into automotives because he really loved cars. So we just keep it going.”