Jenks Auto Mechanic Passes Kindness Along
By EMILY RAMSEY
AUTO FOCUSED: Dave Oles stands next to a 1937 Jaguar kit car. Oles owns Dave’s Auto Service, 424 W. G St. in Jenks, and will celebrate 15 years of business in June.
For Dave Oles, owner of Dave’s Auto Service, the foundation for becoming a business owner was laid early. While owning a business had been his dream for much of his life, opening a business in Oklahoma was not originally in the native New Yorker’s plans.
Oles moved to Tulsa in 1992 after first visiting his sister who moved to the area with her husband so he could attend Spartan School of Aeronautics. Oles came to visit, not expecting to return to New York a changed man.
“When I got here, I realized I was a heart attack waiting to happen,” he says, referring to the stark contrast between Oklahomans and the high stress mentality of those in his home state. “QuikTrip used to freak me out because you walk in, and you’ve got a ton of people saying hi to you.”
He was so immediately sold on the Tulsa area that during that initial visit, he applied for jobs. “I knew I wasn’t going back to New York,” he says.
One job he applied for was at a mechanics garage in Jenks at 424 W. G St., the same location that now houses Oles’ business.
“It looks like I will be retiring in the same building that I started working at,” he says.
After working at that garage for a time, Oles moved on to other mechanic positions before purchasing John’s Auto Service in 1999.
“John wanted someone who would take care of his customers,” he says, referring to former owner John Mullincup. “He (Mullincup) said that if I came to work for him, he would give me the first opportunity to buy his shop when he retired.”
So Oles worked for Mullincup for two and a half years until one day, “John came into the shop and said, ‘We’re going to the bank.’”
That day, Oles became a business owner and has not forgotten who deserves his gratitude. “I feel like I owe him (John); he was a man of his word,” a quality that Oles has carried on in his business, which will turn 15 years old in June.
“I’ll never cross you, never do you wrong,” Oles promises. The steady stream of customers filtering through his front door and the casual, friendly conversations he carries on with all of them reveals that Oles stands by his promise.
“The customer can depend on the fact that I’m going to make the correct decision for their car because that’s my job, but I’m not going to spend their money without telling them.”
The depth of Oles’ loyalty to his neighbors and customers can be especially illustrated by his relationship with longtime Jenks resident Linda George.
“Her eyesight started getting bad, but I felt like it would really destroy her if she lost her license,” he says. “So I kept her keys and told her, ‘Whenever you need to go somewhere, I will be there.’”
Oles drove her to her hair appointments, the grocery store and on any other errands she had.
Oles’ motivation to help and run a business can be summed up in one word, he says, people.
“Our customers, our employees here, they’re family.”