Business Spotlight: Jenniges Gas and Diesel
By McKenzie Fischer
For the month of December, the Wabasso EDA, Commercial Club, and Redwood Area Development Corporation are highlighting a local auto/truck sales and repair business located in downtown Wabasso. After working with his father for many years, Rick Jenniges officially took over Jenniges Gas & Diesel from his father Richard in 2014.
Located at 1230 Oak Street, the original building Jenniges Gas and Diesel sits in now was first opened as a gas station. From 1938 until the late 1970’s, the building passed through several different ownerships. In 1978 Marv and Mike Eichten bought the building and added gas and diesel repair work before ultimately selling it to Rick’s father who then renamed it Jenniges Gas and Diesel in 1985.
Rick spent his whole life growing up around repair work at his father’s business. He started out officially working for his dad by doing various automotive chores and soon after decided to go to college for diesel and auto repair. Rick attended Alexandria Technical and finished his schooling in 1999. After Rick moved back home, he began working with his father at the repair shop. After Ricks father retired in 2014, he bought the business from him and continued to do business in the family name.
When asked who had all supported him getting into this trade and taking over the business Rick replied, “My father for sure was the biggest supporter in my life for this career path and in me taking over once he retired. The community as a whole, and especially my family, encouraged me to continue the business once Dad retired.” Rick lives just a few miles North of town with his wife Jess and his four daughters, Jocelyn, Aylah, Peyton, and Leighton. After asking who was next in line for operating Jenniges Gas and Diesel, Rick wasn’t too sure if any of his daughters wanted to take over his diesel and auto shop! He does have faith in his two current employees, Zeke and Tanner Johnson, who could potentially take over someday when Rick is ready to retire.
Jenniges Gas and Diesel currently offers a variety of services from heavy truck repair, to tires and alignment, as well as more simple and common tasks such as oil changes. In 2019 Rick also started to deal used cars which is a past time that he enjoys. I was curious how many oil changes Rick’s shop does in a year and he said it was somewhere around 500. I then asked Rick was what his least exciting thing to do was, to which he quickly replied, “Oil changes.”
I asked Rick what made owning a business in Wabasso so special? He confidently replied, “The people in this town are very easy going, and have helped us to build a great customer base. We are appreciative of the people that support us being here.” Rick’s advice to anyone wanting to own their own auto shop was, “Make sure you know your customer base really well, and make sure you learn the business side of your operation in addition to the repair and technician part.”
Rick and his two employees can be found at the shop Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.