Chris and Allie Roberts own the small engine and lawn mower repair business Up and Running In Pawnee, Illinois. Located in the former Blanton Gas station from years ago, the couple has been in the building since February of 2019. While they have been at the Highway 104 location for a little over a year now, Chris said he has actually been in business since 2016.
Working on engines and lawn and garden equipment is nothing new to Chris Roberts. He has been at this for most of his life. “I grew up near Chatham and went to school in Chatham. I grew up on some acreage and took care of our mowers.”
“I’ve been hands on my whole life,” Chris added. Chris is a visual learner. He said that while reading a manual doesn’t help him much, all he has to do is look at a picture and he’s got how the engine runs hands down.
Out in the country with his siblings, a brother and sister, Chris enjoyed a bit of dirt bike fun. The dirt bikes came with a caveat though, they required a bit of work so he had to fix the motors to get them running. Working on the dirt bike motors only helped diversify his experience even more.
On top of his hands on experience he has had training as well. “I went to vocational school during high school and studied Ag and mechanics,” Chris said.
Chris’s wife Allie (Lantz) Roberts is also local. She grew up in nearby Glenarm, Illinois.
For a while, Chris worked for Harold O’Shea Builders. While working for the contracting company, he started his repair business on the side. “When I had built up a clientele, I quit working there and started Up and Running full time.”
The first order was to find a place to operate Up and Running. Chris credits a lot of his knowledge to his friend Cuyler Coleman owner of the Capital City Motor Sports. Located in Springfield, Illinois, his friendship with Coleman expanded into business when Cuyler allowed him to open onsite at a portion of the Capital City Motor Sports property.
Due to Chris’s strong work ethic and steady stream of customers, the business grew and he soon needed more space. First he tried to establish a space in Springfield, but finding the red tape and wait time lengthy, when the chance to do business in Pawnee opened up he jumped. “I talked to Don Kern and learned that this property was available,” Chris said.
Since coming to Pawnee, Chris and Allie haven’t looked back. “I wish I would have started my business in Pawnee,” Chris said explaining that it has been easy since he has been here.
When COVID-19 hit, Allie left her position and started working with Chris. He said he had no idea how much he really needed her until she started helping out at the business. Her jobs keep expanding as the days go by.
At Up and Running, Chris services power tools for contractors like O’Shea Builders, Henson Robinson and many residential contractors as well. He works on their pneumatic, electrical and other tools picking them up and repairing them, a service he has found is much needed. This is a job he did while working at O’Shea Builders.
Looking around at the mowers on hand it is easy to guess that Chris also repairs lawn mowers. He said, “I work on small gasoline mowers, plate compactors, concrete saws, generators and I sell parts.”
While he doesn’t stock tons of parts, if he doesn’t have what you need on hand, he can order the part for you. For more information about Up and Running, check out their website at www.upandrunningservicesil.com. Located at 312 Carroll Street, you can reach them at 217-891-0035.