Hoyt family celebrating 80 years on the highway in Walnut Grove
It might sound like some over-simplified business model, but it’s worked just fine for Dave and Wanda Hoyt, who are quietly celebrating the 80th anniversary of Hoyt Oil & Convenience on U.S. Hwy. 14 in Walnut Grove.
“We get a lot of repeat traffic, and I attribute that to clean bathrooms,” Dave said. “If I go to a gas station or convenience store more than once and the bathrooms are dirty both times, I quit going. If you can’t keep your bathroom clean … that’s huge. Dad was that way. Phillips gave awards out for that kind of thing back in the day and he got more than one.”
Needless to say, the clean bathroom theory continues today, a few weeks more than 80 years since Grandpa Alfred Hoyt opened the store on Labor Day in 1940. At the time, the business consisted of the service station and a service bay, and the name of the business was changed to Hoyt’s Service Station, according to a 1985 story by the Sentinel-Tribune newspaper. The original station was run by Albert Kaas, and then Gus Klug and Walt Ziemke — each ran it for three years.
Today, one would be hard-pressed to recognize the business compared to what it is today.
At the time that Alfred was in charge, tires were in huge demand because of a tire shortage during World War II, so the bulk of the business was tire repair.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.