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Success Stories

USDA Grant Helps Expand Tire Repair Service

Nicole King
Small Business
Five people pose for a photo in a tire shop garage area

Turning away customers is something no business owner ever wants to do, but that is exactly what employees at Traveler’s Service Station in Peñasco, New Mexico, had to do. Fortunately, the local nonprofit MAS Comunidad helped them purchase new equipment with funds from a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Development Grant that will allow the station to serve the community again.

a woman and man stand next to each other for a photo

Traveler’s Service Station, also called Mustang Gas, is a small family-owned business that has been part of the Peñasco community since the 1940s. The business sells gas and small trinkets and services vehicles and tires. As tire sizes increased over the years, the old equipment the shop owned could not accommodate the newer sizes.

“We couldn’t fix anything bigger than a 17, and the new tires that are coming in, they are up to 22 or 24 inches,” said Nanette Tafoya, the Traveler’s Service Station manager who helps her father run the family business. “With the new machines, we are not limited to the size we can fix. We haven’t had to turn customers away because, with the newer machines, we are able to fix the tires here.”

MAS Comunidad purchased a new compressor, wheel balancer, and tire changer for the service station. The new tire changer can not only handle larger tires but can also handle smaller tires the old machine couldn’t.

“We can pretty much fix anything,” shared Matt Hoover, one of the employees at Traveler’s Service Station. “We had some smaller tires come in that we normally have to do by hand with screwdrivers. Now we can put smaller tires on it; little tractor tires, wheelbarrow tires, pretty much anything. It’s nice.”

The shop has already seen more people coming in for service as word spreads about their new capabilities.

“We have a couple customers who had been coming for a couple years, and this year they actually want to come in and make an appointment to get all of their tires done,” shared Tafoya. “We couldn’t do their tires before and they would have to go to Taos or Española.”

A woman opens a garage bay door

Aside from the new equipment, the grant also paid for three light weight, easy to open and close doors and an expandable door to keep customers out when the main bay door is open.

“The doors are going to help us a lot because we are able to keep customers out of the bay area and keep them safer,” said Tafoya. “They are more energy efficient for us because they are insulated, and they fit better.”

One of the doors closes off an open bay that previously had no door. Tafoya shared how this will open potential business opportunities by providing a lockable space to store sale items.

“We can maybe carry propane bottles for the people around here so they don’t need to travel into Española or Taos,” said Tafoya. “I would like to put another coke machine outside so the customers can go straight over there and they don’t have to come inside if they don’t want to.”

Española and Taos are both over a 40-minute drive from Peñasco, so the expanded tire service options Traveler’s Service Station offers will certainly help the community.

When asked about how the grant helped their business, Tafoya offered a simple response: “It’s made a difference, a good difference,” she shared. “This just made it so much easier, and we are so grateful for the help.”

To learn more about Rural Development grants visit the programs page. Visit the MAS Comunidad website to learn more about what they do.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • New Mexico: District 3