AUBURN, Maine Tom Auger Sr., founder of VIP Discount Auto Center in Lewiston, Maine, died Oct. 6. He was 82.
After injuries ended his budding professional baseball career, Auger started his business in 1955 after an economic downturn cost him his sales job with the then-B.F. Goodrich Tire Co. With $300 and a used tire changer, he opened L&A Tire and Service.
In 1976, Auger changed the focus of the business to auto parts and accessories and changed the name to VIP Discount Auto Center.
By the time he sold the business in 2001, VIP Discount had 46 stores across New England. And some of the money he made from the sale checks of tens of thousands of dollars were given to surprised employees. In all, some $2 million was spent rewarding those loyal to him and the business.