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HOMEGROWN: Smith's Service Station and Tire

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By Joel Fickel

 

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When a 20-year-old Charles “Smitty” Smith started his own full service station 48 years ago, it was one of six local stations in Taylorsville.
After four years, he moved his business (which offers gas, oil changes, tire repair and replacement, and the general work of a mechanic) to the corner of 125 Main Street, just across the way from where it had been located.
Today, Smith’s business is the sole place in town with all the elements of a full service station and one of the few spots around to get your oil changed.
Smith said that, because the big business of chain service stations has absorbed a lot of the growing population, the prospect of someone starting and maintaining a successful independent station is not as promising as it once was.   
“There are easier ways to make a living,” said Smith. However, his optimism remains unshaken for those who are ready to take on the hard work with 110 percent dedication.
“But if someone is determined, they could make it alright,” he said. “It just takes a lot of hours and a lot of headaches.”
After nearly five decades in business, Smith and his wife, co-owner Velda Smith, clearly possess this needed resolve.
The reason behind taking up the challenge of a small town service station was simple enough for Smith. With no high school education, it was “something to do besides milk cows,” he said.
Smith learned his trade totally through hands-on experience and the guidance of trained mechanics. For many years, he had a large and active hand in the physical labor. Now, in his late 60s, Smith mostly concentrates on working the cash register, pumping gas and supervising his small group of fulltime employees, one of which is his eldest son, Todd.
“It’s aggravating,” he says, to try and focus on the menial business side and the actual labor simultaneously.     
Smith has never had any interest in moving his business to a bigger city and has opted to loyally remain an established part of the geography of Taylorsville. The less stressful, more personal environment has done a lot to keep him rooted here, while people and businesses come and go, and while gas prices creep northward.  
Smith said he hopes to work as long as he can and has no retirement plans.
The only thing Smith said his service station doesn’t handle is front-end alignment. Apart from that, any car needs can be handled at Smith’s Service Station and Tire.

“There are easier ways to make a living ... but if someone is determined, they could make it alright. It just takes a lot of hours and a lot of headaches.”
—Charles Smith, on operating
a service station

Owners: Charles and Velda Smith
Address: 125 Main St.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Sundays
In business since: 1964
Number of employees: 3 full-time, 1 part-time
Primary business: Gas, oil changes, tire and general mechanic needs
Phone: 477-1166 or 477-9991
Price range: Oil change, $34.95