Circle Auto Service-Square Deal Battery Company
On July 7, 1945, Mr Oscar E. Alvarez started this business under the name of Circle Auto Service. The name reflects his intention to serve his customers because he or his employee would CIRCLE your car while fueling it. This meant opening the hood and checking the oil or the other fluids, cleaning the windshield, checking all four tires and checking the rear windshield-circling your car with service. Oscar’s invoices had his business motto or slogan that read, “We do what we say” written within a circle.Mr. Alvarez was and is a man of great integrity. I say this for two reasons. #1 because his spirit lives on within us-at least the spirit of his teachings. #2 he is walking the streets of Gold in Heaven with great integrity, also.
Mr. Alvarez sold gasoline and serviced and repaired cars under the Circle Auto Service name for thirty-eight years and then sold the gasoline station. Between 1945 and 1978, batteries were a small part of his business in the beginning and a great part in the end. When he sold the gasoline business, he moved the battery business across the street from 3602 N Florida Avenue to 3512 N Florida Avenue and Ohio Avenue. This is good because now I can say that we have been in business on the same corner for 69 years as of July 7, 2014.
Over the years, Mr Alvarez had many businesses going. Circle Auto Service was the first, Triangle Oil the next, so he could buy products wholesale for resale to other businesses. Notice the shape pattern. Then in 1978, Square Deal Battery Company was officially started. He rented an area to a barber because he hated waiting to get a haircut. He started a business selling Tampa Bay Buccaneer tickets for season ticket holders that weren’t going to the game.
Mr. Alvarez had many inventions during his lifetime and made some money on some of them. In my opinion, his claim to fame would be his inventions inspired by his battery business. He invented a machine to cut the top off and all the tools to repair the insides of the battery and later the machine to seal the plastic cover back on with a plastic weld. The cutoff machine was sold all over the U.S. and internationally. Mr Alvarez had many inventions and patents and enjoyed solving problems that arose in his industry and everyday life. When you stop in Square Deal Battery, please ask and we are glad to give more detail about his life. Mr. Alvarez is truly one of a kind and many have said, “when he was born, God threw the mold away.”
Mr. Alvarez spent approximately three years caring for his wife, Lila Barnhart Alvarez. Because he was a man of integrity, he honored Mrs. Alvarez and his commitment to her by caring for her to the very best of his ability until she passed away in 2006. Being her caregiver extremely weekend him and on March 4, 2009, Mr Oscar E. Alvarez passed away at the age of 94 due to his heart weakening.
Approximately, five years before the Lord called Mr. Alvarez home, he sold the business to me, Larry Calhoun. I started working at Circle Auto Service in 1976 at the age of 16, right after getting my driver’s license. I pumped gas for the first six months and then he trained me on the tire machine and then how to check and charge the batteries. This job for many years was multifaceted- gasoline, tires, batteries, mechanic work, belts, hoses, light bulbs and so much more. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started issuing rules and regulations to the gasoline dealers is when Oscar decided to sell his service station. So in 1978, he built the building at 3512 N. Florida Avenue and separated the businesses. This is where we operate today selling batteries.
My brother, Joel Calhoun started working with Oscar three years after I did. Like me, he was also 16 years old when he started working with Oscar. We both have hung in and sold many batteries over the years. For me, this is the only real job I have ever had. Besides this, I mowed lawns around my neighborhood and in my early teens, I took a few trips with my father in the moving and storage business. For Joel, he worked for a local convenient store and a grocery store. We both have over three decades in the battery business. We are very proud to say we have many loyal customers and many employees that are like family and some that really are family. We are proud to say we have employees that have been here 10 years plus and prayerfully new ones that intend to stay a long time.
Our goal is to give you the best, honest service at the best value possible with the best warranty possible. We strive to never sell you something you don’t need and usually work harder to “not” sell you a battery than we do to sell you a battery.
Thank you for taking time to read this and taking an interest in our company.
Written by a dear friend, Alexandra Acosta to fulfill a college class project. Below is an article that was written up about the Company back on December 3, 2010
TAMPA- The sight of automotive batteries scattered in front of a building along with workers covered in grease, may not seem like the image of a successful business, but that isn’t the case for this small automotive battery shop. “The customer base continually grows, but we still service customers that have been coming since we started selling batteries 35 years ago.” said Larry Calhoun.
Calhoun, owner of Square Deal Battery, worked with customers and prepared for a day at the shop on Monday morning, while he talked about the history of his business and its success over the years.Over 969 automotive repair shops advertise in the local Yellow Pages. 19 of them specializing in batteries. Given that number, competition seems as though it would be an issue for Square Deal Battery, but that isn’t the case. “On an average day we sell and replace 150 batteries, on a busy day about 300 and on a slow day about 90.” said Calhoun.
According to Jaymes Kehoe, who has been an employee at the shop for six years. any other battery store in the area, like Sam’s Club, Pep Boys. Discount Auto Parts and Interstate Battery, are considered to be competition, but Square Deal’s batteries are substantially cheaper, so as of right now there is no serious competitors.
Calhoun has worked at the shop for nearly 35 years, and he just recently became the owner three years ago. “I started working for the shop when I was 16 years old and have been here ever since.” said Calhoun. “This is the only real job I have ever had’
According to Calhoun owning a business is a challenge, but figuring out how to overcome those challenges is what makes a business successful. “As a business owner you want a level of service given to the customers that is above and beyond anything they can get anywhere else: the challenge in that lies within finding the right employees,” said Calhoun. “Finding employees who will provide this kind of service to your customers and be trustworthy is a dificult task.”
Calhoun believes that at Square Deal Battery there are employees who are both excellent with customers and honest Good employees aren’t easy to come by, and Calhoun didn’t just get lucky. “You lead by example,” said Calhoun. “My former boss, taught by example, and he taught me the proper way to talk, handle and deal with customers. When you lead by example, your employees watch you.“
The shop is home to a total of ll employees. Some have been there as long as 22 years. “When we find a good employee. we like to keep them,” said Calhoun.
1 really do enjoy working here,” said Kehoe. ‘I love to see the smile on people’s faces when I see their car start up after I finish replacing their battery.”
Due to this positive attitude, Square Deal Battery has a customer base that continues to grow. They have many loyal customers who have been coming for years that refer their relatives and friends.
“The employees are always very helpful, and I have always had a great experience here,“ said Susan Bailey, 51, who has been a Square Deal Battery customer for 30 years. ‘Friends, family, strangers, I recommend this shop to everyone.”
-END- December 3. 2010