Ted Wiens Jr. still remembers working for his father as a kid at his Texaco gas station right off Fremont Street in Las Vegas. He made 25 cents an hour to check customers’ tire pressure and wash windshields. Years later, his dad would buy two other Texaco stations, sell those and build one of the largest tire and auto stores Las Vegas had ever seen in the early 1950s. He named it Ted Wiens Complete Auto Service, and this year, the business is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
As Wiens Jr. reflects on his father’s legacy—one he didn’t know his father was creating for the family —he remembers the lessons his father taught him about the business as he worked his way up through the ranks.
“His main theme was “Service You Can Trust.” That was the Texaco motto, and we still live by it and have the signs in our stores to this day,” says Wiens Jr., who serves as the company’s president and is responsible for growing the business to its nine locations today.
The Wiens family celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year with a party attended by 180 people involved in making the business what it is today—its employees, their spouses, the Wiens family and industry suppliers. One of those included longtime friend and retired Bridgestone-Firestone executive John Gamauf (Johnny g), who interviewed Wiens Jr. about his memories of growing up in the business and what he hopes for the future.
Ted Wiens III, vice president and son of Wiens Jr., looked back on the day and expressed what it means to take the business into a fourth generation, as his daughter, Brianna, the business’s development director, has come in and helped take the business to new heights.
“In today’s age, most people can’t believe I was born and raised in Las Vegas, let alone run a 75-year-old business,” Wiens III says. “The tire business has become harder for sure, but we’ve been able to keep our customers and take care of them by treating everyone like the business is their home, too.”
Wiens Jr. fondly tells the story of how the business was created, as his father, Maynard J. Wiens, a retired Major and Ace Fighter Pilot in the Army Air Corps, started with one Texaco location that sold Firestone tires. In 1957, he built his first location of Ted Wiens Complete Auto Service on a corner of the Las Vegas Strip, where he expanded his business to servicing other Texaco stations with batteries, tires and manufacturing retreaded tires.
The corner locations were key for Wiens, who took on the nickname “Ted” during his time with the Army. Wiens Jr. remembers his father preaching “location, location, location,” as the key to a successful business. Wiens Jr. says early on, his father also got into the wholesale business with Southern Nevada TBA Supply, which handled branded products for area Texaco stations. When the service stations went out of business, the company dropped batteries and accessories and turned to wholesaling tires.
Then in the 60s, Wiens Jr. saw his father add commercial tire offerings and a retread shop to his business as well as a service truck.
“In high school and college, I worked for him in all aspects of the business—changing tires, doing mechanical work, installing AC,” Wiens Jr. remembers.
“I worked with him quite a bit. It was when I changed a truck tire in the middle of the desert in 125-degree heat that I decided I wanted to get an education and go into management,” he laughs.
In 1981, his father retired, and Wiens Jr. purchased the business, which had two locations at the time. As Wiens Jr. continued to add locations, he nixed the retread business to focus strictly on retail, commercial and wholesale with a small amount of OTR tire work. He said before his father’s passing, he ran each decision by him.
“I’d go by and see him after work every night,” Wiens Jr. recalls. “We’d sit down and have a cocktail and a cigar. He was always asking questions, like, “Why are you doing this?” and “Why is this better?”
Wiens Jr. says as his son has taken over the day-to-day operations of the business, he’s confident that Ted Wien’s Complete Auto Care will outlast its tire chain competitors. He beams as he discusses how the third and fourth generations have implemented new shop processes, such as refiguring the way the business does vehicle inspections.
He’s also optimistic about serving the Las Vegas community for years to come.
“At one time, Las Vegas was the fastest growing city in the nation, and the city is still expanding so fast. We’re just trying to keep up with the growth and buy property early in areas where there’s housing growth,” Wiens said. “For instance, right now, we’re looking to build two more stores. Our goal is for three pickups to run between the stores to manage inventory so that if one location needs a certain tire, it can get there in 20 minutes.”