- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - Pete Hines is retiring from his position as shop foreman of Hines Service Center after 38 years of greeting customers at the corner of Monroe and Harkrider Streets.

When Hines first bought the service station in 1976 there were two service bays, and it was a two-person team - Hines and his wife Joyce.

Nearly 40 years later, the downtown shop has grown to include five additional service bays, about a dozen employees and 6,500 people on its current customer list.

Last year, the service station did more than $1 million in business, but that wasn’t the first time. Hines Service Station has made more than $1 million at least three times over the past decade, Hines said.

When Hines was a kid, he was introduced to the car business by working in the garage with his uncle. He found his first mechanic job in 1963 at a service station in Little Rock.

In 1966, Hines joined the United States Air Force, and naturally worked for the service station at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan. He then returned to Little Rock to work at Asher Avenue Conoco service station, which he eventually bought in 1970.

When Hines had his shop in Little Rock, he thought the shop was no place for a woman, he said, but when he bought his place in Conway, his wife Joyce ran the office and he ran the shop - a model of success for 35 years.

“She worked with me until I sold the business,” he told the Log Cabin Democrat (http://bit.ly/1l1Z7TE ). In May, the couple will celebrate 48 years of marriage.

Next month, it will be three years since Hines sold his business to new owners Brian and Lori Armstrong.

As a mechanic all his life, Hines concentrated on repairs, he said, but the Armstrongs have made improvements to day-to-day operations and the overall facade with a guest waiting area, fresh paint and a new blue awning for the front.

Brian was a purchasing manager for 30 years in the goldmines of Northern Nevada before coming to Arkansas. The Armstrongs moved to Conway to be closer to Lori’s family. Lori used to work in corporate safety compliance.

“(Hines) built a reputation of honest auto repair, and we’re here to maintain that,” Brian said.

Although many customers may not know, Hines was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 35.

Since then he has had both shoulders replaced, both knees replaced, his left ankle reconstructed twice and his hips replaced three times each.

“I’ve worked through that over the years, but this last surgery has been hard on me,” he said. “It’s not a retirement because I want to,” Hines said. “It’s a retirement because I have to due to my hip.”

Story Continues →