Auto service company owned, managed by womenPosted: 06/05/2009 07:05:15 PM PDT
SAN GABRIEL - Wendy Holten doesn't hesitate when she has to grab the keys to one of her firm's 15 tow trucks and go out on a call.
It's the customers who sometimes do.
It's not every day that they see a woman out on a towing call.
LADDER OF SUCCESS:
BUSINESS: Dickson Motor Service
WHO: Owned by Diane Dickson Oberlander and Leanne Dickson and managed by Wendy Holten.
WHERE: 220 Agostino Road, San Gabriel.
CONTACT: (626) 287-9951
SECRET OF SUCCESS: Honesty and service.
But when things get busy, Holten, manager of Dickson Motor Service in San Gabriel, jumps into action.
She manages the towing business along with her mother Leanne and her aunt Diane Dickson Oberlander, who own the company.
The world of automotive service and the towing business is a natural fit for Holten. She grew up in it.
The business dates back to 1946, when her grandparents Joe and Olga Dickson started their auto repair business at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Huntington Drive in Alhambra.
From there, the business gradually evolved with the region's growing car culture. First came a gas station.
And then, in the mid-1960s, thanks to a contract with the Automobile Club of Southern California, the business branched into towing.
It was something the owners never intended, Diane Dickson Oberlander said.
By then, Jim Dickson, Holten's father, slowly began learning the ropes.
"His world was there," Holten said.
That world continued to grow, with the company towing for local police departments in such cities as San Gabriel and San Marino.
In 1972, the company moved to San Gabriel, where it has been ever since.
And in that time, Holten began learning the business from her father, even as she answered calls and helped out.
"I remember my dad always working late ... we had a lot of dinners with Johnny Carson," she said.
But when Jim Dickson died four years ago, Holten, her aunt and her mom decided to continue the business.
"A lot of people had doubts at first," she said. "But it's what we've always done."
Four years later, despite an economy that has put a dent in their business, Holten and her aunt are hopeful.
The number of cars on the road is down and gas prices are up along with the general cost of running a business.
But family members hope a new generation of Dicksons will take over some day.
If they do, they'll have to remember what made the business survive in the first place, Holten said.
"Just being honest," she said.
(626) 962-8811, ext. 2720
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
CA Auto Service Company Owned, Managed By Women
Here's the San Gabriel Valley Tribune profile:
Posted by Cyndi Kight, Associate Editor of Towing & Recovery Footnotes at 11:11 AM