KEITH (Angus) RIPPEE
TNT was founded by Jim Pidgeon and Henri Camin early in the spring of 1975 in a small rented shop
on South K Street just north of C. Jim Quinn Co.. Grand Opening that year was attended by Tulare
councilman Everett Milnes and Miss Tulare, JoAnne Machado. The Tulare Farm Show was celebrating
their 10th anniversary just down the road at the Tulare Co. Fair Grounds. As the Christmas holiday season approached the new TNT was struggling to survive. Henri decided to take a different path. Henri would leave TNT before years end. Jim went on alone. Leon Snow joined TNT early in 1976. In the summer of '78 TNT had the opportunity to rent Thieme's Garage and take over Tex and Dick's long established business, just north on K Street a few blocks, on the opposite side of the road, directly across from Mr. C's Bar. Gene
Chavez, Tulare Sign Co. painted all our signs and remains one of TNT's oldest friends and loyal customer.
Joe's Place was the TNT favorite "watering hole" spending many a Saturday nite with Joe, Nina and Co.
Bugel Cafe would become our new lunch hangout. Mr. Santos of City Upholstery and Mr. Gomez of Tulare Wheel & Brake were also just across the street...never short of much needed advise and constructive criticism! Garlock's Electric was out our back door and Oscar Ruiz ran the tortilla factory next to the Bugle cafe. In 1980 TNT needed room and moved north on K St. again to a rented shop, built for TNT by Bud Sicks. Ty's Diesel & Air was next door and the new Vejar's Mexican Restaurant was in the old Earl's building. Morris Levin & Son supplied all our hardware needs. The 99 Food Market was the TNT market of choice...what a great meat counter! Lampe Lumber was first choice for our lumber needs and became TNT's first official fleet account. TNT purchased auto parts from Ed Clark's Tulare Automotive Supply and Ely's Auto Parts took care of our paint and machine shop work. Ken Dondero moved from the Los Angeles area across the street in the old Henderson Paint & Body building. Jim welcomed newcomer Ken to Tulare. Ken and Jim began a friendship that remains to this date. In 1990 TNT would leave K Street to purchase the old Doyce Henderson Dodge building in downtown Tulare on North L Street. The old Hazel Hoyt home, owned by Don Lebaron, later to become Hazel's Kitchen was our neighbor to the north. Bob Sumpter ran the Valley Shopper and Print Shop to the south. Amvets Post 56 and Aerodogs soon joined the neighborhood. The Tulare Chamber of Commerce and Cal Ewing were just down the block. Lesley Gleason & Associates handled all our printing and advertising needs...Les and staff are the best! In 2008 TNT would move again but this time the move was a little more complicated...to say the least! With the support of hundreds of loyal friends and customers, TNT would overcome a hostile bid, to purchase the property on the corner of Cross Ave. & J Street, from a large out of town development company and became TNT Quick Lube Wash & Smog. The story doesn't end there! After the delay battling the out of town developers TNT, working closely with the Tulare Redevolpment Agency, had to basically start all over again with the Union Pacific Railroad to purchase the property. With the help the new Agency director Bob Nance and his great staff, four long years later the property was finally TNT's! Special thanks to all involved!
Now in 2011, after 35 plus years of loyal and dedicated service to TNT, Leon has come to a point in his life where he has decided to spend more quality time with his wonderful family. Jim and Leon first met
as freshmen at Tulare Union High in 1966. The Vietnam War was front page news. Following high school, Leon and Jim would join the Navy, serving together on the carrier USS Kittyhawk off the coastal waters of Vietnam, during operation Line Backer in 1972. Leon and Jim share a bond of friendship that few friends ever experience...a 45 yr.commradeship! We wish Leon and his wife Karen, their son Michael and his wife Arika, their daughter Crystal and her husband Jeff... and grand children Rebecca and "little" Joe...many years of continued happiness! On behalf of all the friends and customers you have made and served over the past 35 years at TNT...thank you Leon!
Jim and Leon...Jim's birthday March 2011.
Pics courtesy Don Lebaron
Ground Breaking Feb. 2008.
L to R...Leon Snow, Frank Vasquez, Angus Rippee, Jason Pidgeon, Jim Pidgeon, Paulette Pickett and Jacob Pidgeon with gold shovel.
Cake courtesy Palace Depot bakery.
Leon inspecting retirement watch.
The Snow family and friend Joe Yodsukis.
Leon making sure watch keeps good time!
1987 ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Datejust.
Jim & Leon
Jim's B-Day 3-27-12
L to R: Jim and Leon 1976
L to R: Jim, Leon, Jason P., Frank and Angus 2007.
( dog...Poorboy )