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Towing the Line

Jul 30th, 2018 | By | Category: Geri Roskopf's Blog

I picked up the July issue of Motor Age magazine and was pleasantly surprised to see an article in the shop profile section titled “Towing the Line. Husband and wife team looking for success over the next 50+ years.”

The article highlighted Topel’s Service Center, Inc., also known as Topel’s Towing and Repair, run by Tara and Dan Topel located in Lake Mills, Wis. The owner of Topel’s Truck Center, located about two miles away, is related to Dan, but even though they have the same last name and do towing and vehicle repair, they do run two totally different businesses – one does light and medium-duty towing and one only does towing and recovery of heavy-duty vehicles.

The original owner of the service station is Dan’s father, Chris, who started the business in 1948. Topel’s Truck Center branched out in 2000 and Dan took over the service center in 2003. While there is confusion with the names and what services each business offers, they both try to work together as much as possible.

I found that I could relate to Tara, Dan’s wife, when she realized she didn’t know anything about the industry and wondered if she should stick with the company or work somewhere else. I was in the same position when my husband and I started our own business. What did I know about towing, vehicle repair or managing a business?

Like Tara, I decided I needed to educate myself about the industry to not just help my husband, but help the business grow. The other thing Tara did that I could relate to was that she joined a women’s group named Women in Auto Care where she found a lot of help and support. I discovered the same thing when I joined WTRAA, the Women of the Towing and Recovery Association of America.

It’s not often that I read about a husband and wife towing and service shop in a national automotive trade magazine — and one that’s located in my state of Wisconsin. I wish them luck, continued success and applaud Tara’s positive outlook when she was quoted: “We’re positioning ourselves for the future — for the next 70 years.”