May 2024

Ashland AutomotiveIn late 2009, Zach Edwards, armed with a BS in Management and a CAFE (Certificate in Applied Finance and Economics) from Southern Oregon University, embarked on a journey that has taken a number of twists and turns and resulted in the thriving Ashland Automotive Inc., a full-service automotive repair shop on Ashland’s south side at 550 Clover Lane.

According to Zach, the road to success hasn’t always been smooth. It has been marked with personal challenges and more than a few academic detours—but his determination has kept him on track.

“After a rollercoaster ride through engineering school at Oregon State University and a heartbreaking family situation, I found myself at a crossroads,” Zach recalls of the formative years that preceded the launch of his business. “I knew I needed to be closer to my son and family, so I transferred to SOU’s School of Business.”

With the support of a generous scholarship from The Ford Family Foundation, Zach found his way at SOU, eventually graduating and finding solace in his newfound passion for business. 

“I was tired, but determined,” Zach says of the weeks and months after graduation. “Car repair seemed like a temporary fix, but my professors saw something more and encouraged me to start my own business.”

Taking that advice, Ashland Automotive Inc. (originally called The Shop in Ashland) was born. Zach started from a modest garage on Hersey Street, juggling multiple roles—from mechanic to manager—all while being a dedicated Little League coach and a devoted father. 

“I wore many hats in those early days,” he says, “but it laid the foundation for what Ashland Automotive would become.”

As demand grew, so did the need for a bigger space. Zach seized the opportunity to expand, moving into a larger facility in the Hersey Street Business Park. “It was a leap of faith, but my business plan gave me confidence,” he says. “Soon, we were bustling with customers, and I was able to hire my first full-time employee.”

Zach’s vision for growth didn’t stop there. In 2017, he acquired the current location at 550 Clover Lane, ushering in a new era for Ashland Automotive. Today, with a team of around a dozen full-time employees, Zach’s focus is on providing exceptional service and opportunities for growth. 

“Our goal is simple: to offer top-notch vehicle maintenance and repairs, paired with unparalleled customer service,” he says.

While the growth has been steady, Zach notes that the automotive industry hasn’t been without its challenges, especially with the recent global events. “The pandemic and supply chain disruptions have hit us hard,” he says. “But we’re resilient. Our team has been adept at adapting to the changes while staying true to our commitment to quality and reliability.”

For his customers—and customers-to-be—Zach emphasizes the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance. 

“With rising costs and shortages, staying ahead of maintenance is more crucial than ever,” he advises. “The price of some car parts doubled or even tripled, and our wholesale price of motor oil went up six times in one calendar year. Since then it’s gone up another ten times. We can hardly keep up. Couple those factors with the shortage of technicians and you have a recipe for disaster if you don’t maintain your rig.”

“With vehicles, it really does pay dividends if you’re ahead of your maintenance,” Zach continues. “The cost of replacing engines in modern vehicles can surpass $20k. And yes, that’s a real number. When it comes to cars, the old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is absolutely true.”

In an industry that continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace, Ashland Automotive prides itself on continuing to remain on the edge of technology, a testament to Zach’s unwavering spirit and dedication to his craft. Moving forward he says the future looks bright.

“We are all about ensuring the safety and longevity of our customers’ vehicles,” Zach says. “And we will continue to do so thanks to our exceptional staff and extraordinary customer base.”

For more info or to set up an appointment, call 541-482-4042. You can also see them at, and on Facebook and Instagram.