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The story of Dale’s Service Center all began with Dale Salsberry managing multiple gas stations for Kerr-Mcgee Deep Rock in Davenport, IA. In 1969, Dale took over the Kerr-McGee in Davenport located on W Locust Street, across from the Mississippi valley fairgrounds. He sold gasoline, soda and performed tire repairs. At that time, Dick Shaffer worked for him part-time during high school as a sophomore. In 1976, Dick graduated high school and started to manage the station for Dale from noon to 9pm.
In 1977, Dale and Dick had a gentlemen’s agreement for Dick to run the repair side of the business and Dale to run the fuel station part of the business. Dale did not want to work on cars but made an agreement with Dick that he could perform repairs at the gas station, but would be in charge of his own work while Dale managed the gas side of the station. That same year, Dick purchased a tire machine, a scope, and some hand tools from Dale and leased the building from Texaco to continue the repair shop.
At about the same time, full-service fuel was transitioning into self-service and Dale decided to leave Kerr-McGee and moved to a Skelly fuel station. Getty bought out Skelly and Texaco bought out Getty, making the fuel business tough. Texaco wanted to open convenience stores called Surfco selling cigarettes and candy as a convenience store for customers who came in for fuel. Although he was told that it would never work, Dick did not want to be in the tough fuel business any longer and wanted to focus on the repair side of the business only. They were one of the first businesses in the Quad Cities area to not offer fuel service.