Janzen GMC Truck Co. is celebrating 50 years in business following its anniversary last month.

Established April 19, 1967, on Broadway in downtown Enid, the dealership has seen many changes and faced its share of hardships.

Manager Diane Rimple said her grandfather Clarence Janzen and father Jerry Janzen and operated downtown until they moved to their current location Dec. 15, 1970, at 2606 N. Van Buren.

But in the following year, the business suffered heavy losses in a hailstorm that all but decimated the father and son’s inventory.

“I show we had baseball-sized hail that damaged 60 new cars and 30 used,” Rimple said. “We repaired four and the rest were sold in their damaged condition.”

Clarence and Jerry drove to area auctions and other nearby dealerships to find inventory for the lot, said General Sales Manager for GM Clint Crismas.

Over the years, the original Oldsmobile dealer also added other franchises, including: Subaru, Jeep-Eagle, Diahatsu and GMC.

Rimple, who is the third generation of her family to work at the dealership, said her husband Ron works on the sales lot and her son Stuart works in the body shop, making him the fourth generation of the family at the business.

“It’s just a family business, and I want to carry on the tradition, the heritage,” Rimple said.

Rimple said she’s worked at the dealership for 20 years, outside of the summers and holidays she worked over the years.

She attributed the success of the business to having good customer service and being family-friendly.

“We try to treat our customers like part of the family, and we try to talk care of everybody,” she said.

Rimple’s husband Ron, who’s worked for Janzen since 1983, said when Clarence and Jerry purchased the dealership, Oldsmobile was taking off in popularity.

“Originally, I would have to say when they got into business in 1967, Olds was really on the upswing. It was the car that people aspired to. Their timing was impeccable,” he said. “I think in the mid-’70s, they (Oldsmobile) were selling a million units nationwide.”

He said Clarence and Jerry Janzen were men of strong faith and that played a role in keeping the business run a certain way.

“Diane’s grandfather, people who just had hard work and perseverance, they strived to do things in an honest way,” he said. “I think those are some of the attributes that have lasted 50 years. I know her granddad would be super excited to see us celebrate 50 years.

“Clarence and Jerry were strong people of faith and that played a part in their decisions and how they operated,” he said. “We try to carry on in those ways of doing business.”

Story provided by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  Cass Rains