My father Frank Daniels, Sr. started this business in a Mohawk Gas Station on Memorial Day weekend 1960. Some of you might still remember the station at 265 W. Inyo Street with the candy-striped poles and the drink box out front.
My dad has always had a desire to help people. Even with a very limited budget, not only did he sell gas, but he had one hoist, or one lift, to service and repair cars and pick-ups. In those days, my dad gave credit, which helped a lot of people and some were even able to start their own businesses in harvesting, trucking and construction, because of Frank’s generosity.
In 1967, the local Enco fuel and oil distributor, C.P. Phelps came to my father and gave him the opportunity to take over the lease on the Enco Truck Stop at 415 S. K Street on the curve where J Street turned into K, (previously the old 99 Freeway). Knowing how trustworthy Frank was, Mr. Phelps handed over the keys and allowed my dad to make weekly payments. Frank’s Mohawk became Frank’s Enco.
In the early 1970’s, the truck stop and service station became branded as Exxon, when the Humble Oil Company had to change the Enco name for several reasons. As Frank’s Exxon grew, my father built a dedicated auto service and repair shop next to the station building.
The story my parents love to tell, is that when I was 3 years old, my mother dropped me off at the station, so my dad could watch me for a short time while she ran an errand. While I was with him, there was a car up on a jack stand and he had removed the lug nuts to take the tire off. The telephone rang and he went to answer it. When he came back, I had put the lug nuts back on the car by hand. So, they like to say that I started working on cars when I was 3 years old.
Many of you know me as Andy, but my full name is Frank Andrew Daniels, Jr. At a very early age, I had the desire to work on cars, but it probably wouldn’t have looked good for the business to have a 12-year old boy performing major automotive repair. So, my dad had to hold me back and limit me to pumping gas, sweeping up, hosing down, scrubbing islands and assisting the technicians whenever I could.
In 1978 as a junior at Tulare Union High School, I took work experience through the Auto Shop program with Frank Mains as my instructor. I went to school in the mornings, but in the afternoons, and on Saturdays, I worked with my dad at the station. This gave me valuable experience in all aspects of running the business and serving people. The day after graduating from high school, I immediately went to work full-time alongside my dad.
In 1992, my dad allowed me to take over the daily operations and buy the business from him. Within the next two years, I changed the business model and started transitioning the Exxon service station and truck stop to general automotive service and repair.
We have since relocated Frank’s Automotive, Inc. to our present location at 1459 S. K Street, and affiliated with NAPA Auto Care. We service all makes and models, alternative fuel vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and fleets. Recently, we expanded our building and now have 7 bays, 7 lifts, and employee 10 people.
I enjoy my profession; it is very rewarding to help people maintain their second largest investment. It’s much easier to schedule a service, then to deal with an unscheduled breakdown. Truth be told, all of our customers are very kind and gracious and we are very thankful for their trust! Stop by and say “hi!”, we’d love to see you!