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60 Year Pep Boys employee!!

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  • 60 Year Pep Boys employee!!

    Harold Dennis, 81, is celebrating 60 years at the Pep Boys auto parts store in downtown Fresno. Dennis has been with the store since it opened in 1948.


    Harold Dennis has been working at Pep Boys for so long -- 60 years, to be precise -- that he's met Manny, Moe and Jack personally.

    "It was one November, I guess," back in the late 1940s, the 81-year-old Dennis recalled Friday, after taking time off to celebrate his 60th anniversary at the same Pep Boys auto parts store at 716 Broadway in downtown Fresno.

    "I was sweeping out the storeroom, and here come these three guys," he said. "I said, 'You can't come through here, this is off-limits to customers,' but they just walked up and came on through."
    While the faces of Pep Boys founders Emanuel (Manny) Rosenfeld, Maurice (Moe) L. Strauss, and W. Graham (Jack) Jackson are recognized from storefronts across the country, it's Dennis' smiling face that is the mainstay at the store he has worked at since it opened in 1948.

    "I've been hanging out at this store since '52, '53," said store manager Elmer Kliewer Jr. His father, who also worked there, brought him to the store as a toddler.

    "I used to play on the ladders" in the stock room, "and Harold used to tell me, 'Go on, get down from there!' So I've known Harold all my life."

    Dennis isn't the oldest continuous Pep Boys employee, said Bill Waters, the company's area director. "But he is one of the top two or three."

    Several Pep Boys executives called Friday to congratulate Dennis on his anniversary.

    Things have changed since Dennis started at Pep Boys, when he used tacks to attach straw-woven and cloth seat covers to wooden-framed car seats.

    "Where the scooters are now, that was all bicycles," he said, pointing to the front window display area of the store. Pep Boys used to sell lots of bicycles -- more than 400 every December, Kliewer said -- before the Philadelphia-based chain phased them out in the mid-'80s.

    Other things have stayed more or less the same, like the car-lowering kits Dennis used to sell in the 1950s and still sells today.

    "That's an old tradition," he said.

    But as times have changed, Dennis has kept the same attitude and the same smile that has made him a favorite of customers for six decades.

    "Every day's a good day," he said. "And the next one is going to be better."

    Now I know which Pep Boys I should have been shopping at. The one close to my house only says "Sorry, Studebaker isn't in our computer anymore." All the while a four-foot long bank of parts books languishes. I'm sure Dennis would peruse the books and help me at his store. The story doesn't say anything about him retiring. Wonder if anyone has a collection of XX-year service pins for Pep Boys[?][?] Are you listening Mr. Quinn I didn't know how to include the photo from the Fresno Bee article, but it shows Dennis in front of the store's sign which still has Manny smoking on a stogie! Didn't they discontine that twenty-five years ago as not politically correct? Anyway, the City of Fresno in it's infinite wisdom has given an out of town developer Millions of dollar to "Redevelop" this area of downtown. Like many other cities, suburban sprawl--encouraged for years by the city--had left the downtown core to crumble. They now want it to be a place for young people to live and shop. So the businesses that stayed put and didn't flee to the suburbs and are still making it downtown are now faced with having to move it or lose it.[8] Here's some old surviving businesses along with the Pep Boys store that are in the area slated to be leveled[V]

    (read it backwards)


  • #2
    60 years is truly amazing for anyone in any business.

    A couple of months ago I was at a friend's small business when they honored one of their regular employees with being there for 62 years and no, he wasn't retiring at that time.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer


    • #3
      I had no idea Pep Boys had been in existence that long[:0] Ors has only been here maybe 15 years or so.

      Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
      Parish, central NY 13131

      "Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

      "It was the last chance for Studebaker to turn things around. The company was down to its last bullet, and this new small car was it. They called it the Lark"


      • #4
        I love those kind of stories... now that's dedication! [^]

        '57 Transtar Deluxe
        Vancouver Island

        Are you planning to attend the NW Overdrive Tour in Parksville, BC
        May 23 & 24, 2009?
        Mark Hayden
        '66 Commander
        Zone Coordinator
        Pacific Can-Am Zone


        • #5
          Around here Pep Boys is closing stores that have only been open for ten years.

          My Great Uncle retired from a lumber mill after seventy-five years of service. He didn't know any better so, continued to go in every day until his death at 102. His wife died two years later at 107.

          He was 18 and she was 21 when they married.

          Brad Johnson
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


          • #6
            Thanks Kurt. I've been in Baskin's upholstery a-many a time. In fact, the first time I went in there, I was telling them about one of my Studes and how I wished I could find some original upholstery for it. One fella says: "Go to the back there and down the steps. There's some stuff there that you might be interested in."
            I went and looked and there were about 20 NOS door panels from mid-50s Stude cars! Some still in the boxes. He said I had to take them all or nothing. I didn't take them. The last time I was in there, they acted like they'd never had them. Weird.
            Still, it's a neat place to visit. It's just as it was in there in the 50s! They even had alot of aftermarket accessory stuff still on display. Pretty cool.[^]
            I've been in that Engine supply place too. There was another place that relined brake shoes and rebuilt water pumps. I took them a bunch of cores years ago and when I went back to get them, they couldn't find the stuff!

            Miscreant Studebaker nut in California's central valley.

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President two door

            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


            • #7
              I actually remember when Pep Boys was a great parts store - back in the late 90s I had a '67 Dodge Dart, and it needed an idler arm. This was when I discovered that '67 had a lot of one year only parts on it; the Pep Boys in Monroeville was the only place I could find one. Everyone else could sell me one for a '66 or a '68 but no '67. They also had little carded "rebuild your alternator" kits for like $12 hanging right behind the parts counter. I also stocked up on the little thin metal terminals like were used on European cars with the tabs that grab the insulation. I also bought the tool for those there, as well as an Oetiker clamp tool. Right there hanging off a hook. Today... not so much. The one in Annandale is OK but the smaller stores seem to really concentrate on the stereo stuff and cheap SBC chrome parts and not so much of the stuff you really need to just keep an old car running.


              55 Commander Starlight
              55 Commander Starlight


              • #8
                That's pretty cool. Used to be you could find a good company and spend your life working there. Not so much anymore. There's no loyalty between employers and employees anymore, or vice versa.


                Clark in San Diego
                '63 F2/Lark Standard

                Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


                • #9
                  That really is a shame about all those good looking solid older buildings being leveled! [xx(]

                  That must have been a real Automotive Business Meca in that Block! Pretty unusual to see that! How I would LOVE to have just one of those big 'ol brick buildings on my Studebaker Acre! [^]

                  Studebakers Northwest
                  Ferndale, WA
                  Second Generation Stude Driver,
                  Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                  • #10
                    Yeah Schedulers will have another Stude engine in there in a couple of weeks for Valve guides. Been going there since I was a little kid. Baskins well we know them well too. They do very good work.

                    Mabel 1949 Champion
                    1957 Silverhawk
                    1955 Champion 4Dr.Regal
                    Gus 1958 Transtar
                    1955 President State
                    Mabel 1949 Champion
                    Hawk 1957 Silverhawk
                    Gus 1958 Transtar
                    The Prez 1955 President State
                    Blu 1957 Golden Hawk
                    Daisy 1954 Regal Commander Starlight Coupe