Lake Wales, Florida – After 58 years a local Lake Wales business is closing today. The original owner, Clyde Kieffer, opened up Kieffer and Son’s as a full service gas station in 1958. Located at 842 FL-60 (across the street from the Lake Wales Country Club) it benefited from the traffic on S.R. 60. The business was also ran by 3 brothers, the sons of Clyde, for many years. The sons Kim, Kerry and Kevin Kieffer all worked together until just a few years ago when Kevin left to work at a local container company.
The closing is bittersweet. Asked why they were closing and the two remaining brothers, Kim & Kerry, stated they were retiring. Mind you they said this with a smile on their faces. You could tell this was both a sad and glad moment for them. Asked what the brothers would do now and one said fishing.
The brothers recalled how the business started as a gas station and then progressed to minor mechanic work and eventually after self serve gas came in it changed to just service repair. They reminisced about working on cars brought down by snowbirds which were always rusting out. A local from the Golfview Park area just behind the shop shared these memories ” all of us as children use to run down there and get a cold drink out of the cooler box not a machine and if our grandma / parents gave us at least another dime or so we could get a good amount of candy” said Debbie Booth.
Asked why no one else in the family took over the business the brothers just smiled. They explained that everyone else had a good job. Many of the male grandchildren of Clyde had jobs working for the local power companies. Clyde’s wife reminisced about how the shop was smaller when it first opened. Clyde added on a waiting room and atleast one more bay for repairs.
Editors Note: While the closing of this longtime business is sad, it is also nice to see that it is done on their terms. It was an absolute pleasure to speak to Kim & Kerry along with the rest of the Kieffer family. It was very easy to see how they were in business for 58 years serving this community. We wish them all the best in there retirement and hope they enjoy every minute of it.