BC business still offers full service after 69 years
There was once a time when life was a little slower, when strangers said
“hello” to each other and life was little more peaceful. Times have
changed, but one man in Bridge City has vows to keep a little bit of
what once was.
Dupuis Tire and Service Center, located at 2490 Texas Ave. in Bridge
City, and has been part of Bridge City’s history for 69 years. In 1941,
Paul Dupuis Sr. and his brother, Earl, opened up Dupuis Brothers,
convenience store and gas station. In 1953, the Tire and Service center
was built next door and was managed by Paul.
Kenny Dupuis was born with motor oil in his veins and grew up with
grease under his fingernails. At the age of 10, he was using his lunch
break at school to relieve his dad at the station. By the age of 14, he
was making 50 cents an hour by waiting on customers, restocking the
oil, cleaning up the station and doing just about anything else that
needed doing. When he graduated from high school in 1963, he was making
Paul retired from the business in 1967 and Kenny has ran the station
since. He bought the company from his father, Paul, which originally
started out in 1941 as a convenience store and gas station that his
father and uncle, Earl, owned, called Dupuis Brothers. In 1953, the
Tire and Service center was built next door and was managed by his
Dupuis and his staff offer full service to their customers. They don’t
offer all the services that were once offered by full-service stations
many years ago, but they still do everything they can do to take care
of their customers.
“We do a lot of tire business and a lot of mechanic work,” said
Dupuis. “We have a certified mechanic, one of the best in Orange
County. We keep him busy.”
“We still check the oil, the fluids, clean the windows and check the
tires unless we’re told not to,” he said. The station also offers self
service and is a state inspection site.
Over the years, the oil companies have tried to do away with
full-service gas stations because it costs a few cents per gallon more
than self-service stations. “I think it’s kind of a downfall because
cars aren’t being checked [at self-service stations],” Dupuis said.
“The oil companies are just interested in making money,” he said. “They
don’t care how they do it or who they sell to. They’re all doing it for
the dollar. The self service has taken over; everybody wants to save a
few pennies where they can. There definitely is a difference in price
because we have to charge for our labor.”
“I want to be the last little man standing,” Dupuis said. “The oil
companies have tried to do away with me for years and I just haven’t
given in to them, I just wanted to show them that I could do it.”
Even though all major oil companies have pulled away from full-service
stations, Dupuis buys gasoline from the major companies and sells it to
his customers. “It’s good fuel,” he said.
Even though times are tough for many, business is still good and Dupuis
still has a loyal stream of customers that stop by the station. “We do
a lot for the handicapped, the older people; they depend on us
entirely,” he said.
Three years ago, Dupuis was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to
remove it. This has caused him to not be able to work every day. “I’ve
kind of been on the sideline,” he said.
While there aren’t any plans of his children taking over the business
when Dupuis is ready to retire, he just keeps on going. “I don’t know
how long I’ll do it,” he said. “We’ve always done since 1941, so I
guess that’s why I still do it.”