A rudimentary search on Yelp for an automobile repair shop in Glendale will return at least nine pages worth of results, from general engine repairs to body shops and the usual service center.
Brothers Automotive, located on South Glendale Avenue, holds a respectable rating on the site and anyone near downtown would likely do all right if they dropped their ailing vehicle to owners Karapet “Gerry” Keshishyan and his older brother Mike.
However, downtown drivers with otherwise healthy vehicles have also taken quick detours to the Keshishyans’ shop for its unusual exterior decoration: birds. Lots of them.
Around 25 or 30 small and medium-sized birds in cages line the shop’s exterior walls. Every night they are taken into the building. They are returned outside in the morning, after receiving their usual water and food.
“Back in Armenia we used to have a lot of freshwater fishes, we had maybe a thousand of them. Here a fish tank would be too much to take care of,” Gerry Keshishyan said.
“My cousin had a parrot, and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to keep it,” he added. “We thought since we always loved having animals around if we should take it. She brought it in and we’ve kept [buying birds] for more than 15 years now.”
He said he emigrated from Armenia to the United States when he was 22 years old and purchased the three-car garage shop in Glendale in 1993 along with his brother, who was a mechanic in Armenia.
The brothers only sell their automotive services and not the birds, he said.
“I’m not a bird expert, I just give them a home,” he explained. “[The birds] feel you too, when you are not in a good mood, they feel that you are not in a good mood.”
He said customers and passersby frequently come to Brother’s Automotive and ask questions about the birds, usually wondering which one is the loudest.
“The Brazilian conure is the noisiest. The rest are not that noisy,” he said.
His favorite bird is one of the canaries. It has no name, and he said many of them don’t, simply because they “look too much like each other.”
The birds that are distinguishable do have names, however. There are “Oliver” and “Mango,” for example.
Gerry Keshishyan said he encourages Glendale residents to continue stopping by and asking questions about both the caged birds and their cars.
“We are a neighborhood shop that is friendly with everyone, we take care of everyone like one of our family members,” he said.
It’s a shop, in short, that’s not just for the birds.