Elected: April 13, 1996
Inducted: August 16, 1996
We are here to honor a man who had accomplished many goals, and has overcome many obstacles to become the successful entrepreneur that he is.
I once heard one of his parts suppliers refer to him as the “John Wayne of Service Station Dealers”. A description like that says a lot about a man. It describes a man who works hard, is honest and fair, and is willing to stand up and fight for his convictions. The “Duke” we are here to honor is Wallace Edwin Shriner.
Wally, born on March 6, 1919, in Logan, Ohio has always been a person to rise to the top. As a youth, he opened his first business delivering newspapers with a pony cart. For delivering the papers, he would pay other children with his grandmother’s cake allowing them to ride on his pony cart.
Shortly after finishing high school, he opened his first service station. He later sold the business, and used funds in conjunction with a football scholarship to pay for his education at Findlay College. It is during this time that Wally secretly married Margaret Poling, a marriage that has lasted 56 years, bearing him five children; Jerry, Judy, Tim, Jo Lynne and Jim, all of who are employed in the service station and towing business.
After discovering college was not what Wally was looking for, he went into the grocery business. He worked in grocery stores for the next 20 years. He finally was able to open the largest independent grocery store in Ohio. When his IGA store failed to become the success he had hoped, due to circumstances beyond his control, he was forced to close the doors.
At this point, many men would have laid down and given up, but instead Wally gathered his pride, his experience, his dreams and his family and returned to the automotive service field. He took over a failing service station, during a gasoline shortage, feeling that he could circumvent its problems and make it a successful business. What a challenge!
In 1973, at the age of 54, when many people are planning their retirement, Wally opened the doors to Broad & James Shell, which gave birth to Broad & James Towing. Driving one hour each way every day, between Logan and Columbus, Ohio, he worked hard, and smart, doing whatever was necessary to make the business a success.
He bought his first tow truck in 1974, a 1965 Chevy, six cylinder, for $1,500.00, a far reach from what his last tow truck cost. The Shell station located at the corner of Broad and James Road is the busiest full service station in Columbus, Ohio. The towing has grown to include a fleet of ten trucks, and is generating over one-half of a million dollars per year in sales.
In addition to devoting a great deal of time to his business, Wally has given a great deal back to the community and the industry. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Central Ohio Gasoline Dealers Association. Wally has always been actively involved in the TRAA and the TRAO. He held the office of Treasurer for the Professional Towers of Ohio, and was one of the founders of the Columbus Towing and Storage organizations.
Wally is a past president of the Tahre Shrine Club of Lancaster, where he worked with and helped handicapped and burned children. He is also a lifelong member of the Masonic Temple.
Wally Shriner currently is involved with T.O.W.E.D. (Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving). He is also a former of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Towing, and the International Towing Organization. He has been instrumental in the design and location for the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.