Bob's Tire Service Station celebrated their 50th Anniversary Saturday, May 1.
Robert Smallwood thanked his customers saying if it wasn't for them they would not have been here for 50 years. The key to their success is hard work and good service.
“Anybody can sell tires and anybody can sell gas, but it’s the service,” Robert Smallwood said.
Bob's opened May 1, 1971 and is the longest owned full-service gas station still in operation in Southeast Arkansas. They change vehicle tires including vehicles and tractors; changed oil and oil filters; cleaned windshields; and have aired up and repaired tires for over 40 years in the same location.
They celebrated their anniversary at their location at 205 South Main Street with family and friends. They also held drawing to give away five $50 cash prizes and $50 in Gas. The winners of the $50 cash were Bill Canada, Omar Hernandez, Jason Reaves, Rose Stain, and Shannon Moreland. David Baker won the $50 in gas. They also received gifts from the community of a gift basket and potted plant.
Robert's future plans are to make some updates to the gas pumps at the station that have been service since around the 1990s. The full service station usually washes windshields and checks air in the tires and with few requests to check the oil due to improvements with cars not using oil like they have in the past.
Bob and Theada Smallwood owned and operated the station from May1, 1971 until 2014 when their son, Robert Smallwood, became full owner/operator of the enterprise. Robert's son, Dean, also works at the station, keeping the family tradition of providing service to the citizens of Desha County and beyond. Smallwood plans to keep the business in the family.
Bob and Theada have two children Robert and Melissa. The family moved to Pickens, AR January 1, 1962. Bob worked for R. A. Pickens & Son Company for several years in the large mechanic shop. He worked on vehicles; serviced the farm machinery and trucks; changed tires; changed oil, and other tasks. They moved to Dumas in 1971. Before moving to Pickens, he worked for Derrick's Lumber Company in Hot Springs and in Hyster's Shop where they rebuilt motors.
Theada said the reason they purchased the gas station when they learned the previous owners wanted to sell their business. When they first bought the station it was a Lion Station for about a year. It became an Esso and later the name changed to Exxon. Bob said he would do anything different, just keep doing what he was doing. They both said they trusted God; worked very hard; and felt very blessed.
“It has raised two kids and grandkids, it has been a great business,” Theada Smallwood said.
Bob said since he has been in business there have been a lot of changes in all the products and technology. The biggest thing is to take care of the customers.
Bob, his son Robert and grandson Dean said they feel a lot of pride in being involved in the station and working side by side to keep the business going and carrying on the tradition. Bob's has always been a full-service station and his has outlasted others.
“You get a lot of gas stations- you don't have serve,” Bob Small wood said.
(Some Information courtesy of Roger Lunsford.)