Joe Louis Llanes

This interview was conducted by Sarah Louies Tijerina on March 9, 2009 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2009 class.


Joe Louis Llanes was born January 2,1951 in San Antonio Texas. He was born to Isabelle and Joe Llanes. Joe is the eldest child out of nine. Joe did not finish High school at Davy Crockett, but also attended school at Ruiz in San Antonio Texas on the west side. David Crockett Elementary. Joe is married and has five children in Poteet Texas, where the Poteet Strawberry Festival is held every year. His hobbies are fishing in Corpus Cristi Texas and spending time with his family. Joe’s religion is catholic and attends an Fernando Cathedral San Fernando Cathedral. Joe was not enlisted in the army but worked for the army taking care of burned patients in San Antonio Texas at . Brookes Army Medical Center.


What are your earliest childhood memories?
I remember buying my mother her first washer and dryer in 1967.

How has San Antonio Texas changed in your lifetime?
There are more cities and people, and I remember everything being a lot cheaper.

Did you ever imagine yourself opening up your own muffler shop?
No not at all, and after all the hard work and struggle it did pay off.

Tell me the story about the muffler shop?
Was opening the muffler shop both you and your wife’s idea?
Yes indeed, this was the beginning of a great start.

What was business like for the muffler shop when it had first opened?
I have to say that customers from all over like San Antonio Texas, Floresville Texas, and Houston Texas would come for our service. It was incredible to feel needed from people all over.

Are fixing cars at your shop your passion?
I would have to say of course, because I have been doing this for my whole adult life.

Do you feel that you get more out of working at your business then just having customers?
I do feel that I receive a whole lot more than just the customers.” “I do get in mail thank you cards from the customers that come to the Muffler Shop that are pleased with the service they get.

What do you get out of working in this type of business?
I feel that I do and help others in my town when at the same time they are helping me support my family.

Do you want to carry this type of business within your family?
Yes, I diffidently see this job being carried on in the future.

Why do you want to keep this business going in the family?
I feel that the person that has the most inspiration for this job shall continue my work, and hopefully move it even further.

Do you enjoy fishing?
Yes I do very much.” It is a great way to relax from a day of hard work.

Is fishing your way of getting away from the business stress?
It really is, because it is away from everything. It is peaceful and I enjoy the time with my wife and family.

Were you able to go fishing as a child to get away from the hard times?
No I wasn’t able to, because my responsibility was to try and keep the family together financially.

When you first had started on the process to building your business, where there any other shops around at that time?
No there were none but one shop in town named De la Fuente, But J&J Muffler shop was the first shop to open in Poteet Texas on Highway 16.

What this process very difficult in the beginning?
It was in the beginning, because people needed to get to know my wife and me and gain that trust. We were new in town and you need a whole lot of trust to have a stranger work on your car.

Did this make business better?
It really did, because then our business’s name was in the town and that is when the customers came asking.

Do you ever think about expanding the business into further locations?
No not right now, but that is a great idea for the future to keep in mind.

Do you have any regrets about the business?
No, I believe I did the best I could.

Would you go back in time if you could, and change the difficulties that you had in your lifetime? I would not change a thing, because I learned responsibility, and that is what I have taught to you.

Have you taught your work to others?
Yes, I have to my older son Raul Lozano and to my Son in law Michael Tijerina and to my Daughter Sarah Tijerina.” “I also get my grand kids into the dirty work too.” “This will show them great values.

Do the employees you teach your work to, do they realize the passion that you have for this type of business too?
I feel that the one’s I have taught my work to have the passion, But I do expect a whole lot more of my daughter. I say that, because she is attending college and I do not want her to struggle the way I did.

Did you have to sruggle a whole lot before getting where you are today?
Every bit of my life was a struggle, but this is what made the struggle worth it. Having my family taken care of.

Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
I enjoyed the interview very much and I would do it again if I could.


In this oral history project I learned how my father’s career began.
The most important points made in this interview, Was to set an example for me and others that you need an education in this life time for a better future. Now that we have that today student should take advantage of it. I learned in this interview that my dad did not ever have anything handed to him, but he had to work for what he has earned today.
I felt that my view on the interview did change by having me realize that the story of others shows how their lives and progressed over the years of changes and expieriences.
Joe six word memoir is, I tried the best I could, and overall this is what he did. Through this interview it was very emotional , because of the difficult memories my father had to explain to me where how and why? The stories of Joe’s past really did wake me up and realizes the values I do have today. The proof I had to verify his stories were from his mother telling me as a child the adventures my dad had found himself into. The interview has showed me the past to the present the great advantages that we have today and do take advantage of. This is a very great way to learn about the past because the adventure is learned by someone who has lived the history and of that time, and this shows a college student the interviewee’s life and past through there eyes and steps that they have taken.


  • 1951- Joe Louis Llanes was born in San Antonio Texas at Santa Rosa Hospital.
  • 1954- Joe Louis Llanes moved to New Mexico with his family.
  • 1955- Joe Louis Llanes moved back to San Antonio Texas.
  • 1957- Joe Louis Llanes started the first grade.
  • 1961-1966: Times got tough , so Joe Louis Llanes and his brothers were able to get food that the produce market trucks to help the family survive.
  • 1967- Joe louis Llanes started a job in San Antonio Texas at a “Tiendita” Called “A Mantemayor” Earning $30.00 a week. He made enough money to buy his mother one of the first electric washing machines.
  • 1968- Joe Louis Llanes took his dad’s 1948 Chevorlet car with his cousin without permission to Houston Texas to help the family survive. The car broke down in Schulenburg Texas. So Joe and his cousin had to hitch hike the rest of the way to Houston Texas. They finally arrived in Houston Texas only having two dollars for survival. Joe and his cousin had to eat out of a church’s dumpster eating for a day or two. Untill one day the manager of church’s had noticed this. He offered the two a job and a place to stay at church’s. Within six months Joe Louis Llanes had became manager of Church’s.
  • 1969- Joe Louis Llanes had quit his job to better himself to work at a company named , Oak Farms Dairy. in Houston Texas. Thatt same year he quit that job and worked for Mrs, Baird’s Bread Company in Houston Texas.
  • 1971- Joe Louis Llanes moved back to San Antonio Texas Because of the Vietnam War. He wanted to serve his country, But was unable to because of his seizures. So Joe was hired as a Civil Service for the army at Brook’s Army Medical Center. He took care of the burned soilders and helping with everything as much as he could. He was earning $150.00 weekly.
  • 1973- Joe Louis Llanes was didcharged from the army because the Vietnam War was over.
  • 1974- Joe Louis Llanes Got a job fo KO Steel Company. Making steel and pipe. He was earning $150.00 a week.
  • 1976- Joe Louis Llanes quit hi job and then started to work for Meineke muffler shop bending pipe and earning $150.00 weekly. He was putting in 60hrs. a week.
  • 1978- Joe Louis Llanes was fired because his manager Mike chose a Anglo man not knowing the work and Joe fully understanding the job was still fired because of racism against hispanics. Joe then walked across the street to Midas shop on Millitary Dr. and offered to work a whole week free without pay just to show his skills. The second day Joe was hired. He was earning $275.00 weekly.
  • 1979- Joe Louis Llanes Became manager of Midas Auto running the store and earning $500.00 weekly.
  • 1980- Joe Louis Llanes was offered a job as a field manager by Midas Auto. But the pay was going to remain the same for doing more work, so he quit. That same year he got a job at AAA Auto on Millitary Dr. in San Antonio Texas. earning $500.00 weekly as a muffler man.
  • 1981- Joe Louis Llanes quit his job at AAA Auto and started his own buisness with the money he saved from his pasts job’s. The buisnes was located in San Antonio Texas on Highway 16 called J&M Shop he had a junkyard , auto parts and he was selling used cars all at the same time.
  • 1983- Joe Louis Llanes got married to Maria Padron.
  • 1984- Joe Louis Llanes had got a divorce. So he sold the shop to is Ex wife keeping the money to be equal, and lived off the money.
  • 1995- Joe Louis Llanes bought land in Poteet Texas on highway 16 and married Julia Valdez Guerra. That same year on Valentine’s day Sarah Louies Llanes was adopted into the family, and on the fourth of December that same year Joe Julian Guerra Llanes was born into the family.
  • 1996-1997: Joe and Julia Llanes were building a Muffler Shop of there own. They were the first pioneer’s in Poteet Texas on highway 16 to build a home and Muffler shop. It was finally opened and was buisness to the public.
  • 1997-2009 Joe Louis Llanes Is still running “The J&J Muffler center. Selling used automobiles and still being a muffler man.

Annotated Bibliography

  • David Crockett Elementary David Crockett Elementary School serves Pre-K through 5th Grade Students From The City Of San Antonio, Which Is Part Of Bexar County. This School Is Eligible For Participation In State & Federal Title I Programs. Some Or All Students From This School Participate In Free Or Reduced Lunch Programs. Joe Louis Llanes attended this school from 1957-1966. source:Copyright © 2009, Local School Directory All rights reserved.
  • Brooke Army Medical Center. Joe Louis Llanes worked at Brooke Army Medical Center from 1971-1973. During the early years the Post hospital was in temporary structures, and it was not until 1886 that the first permanent hospital was built. In 1907 an 84-bed Station hospital was constructed on the west side of the post. This made the hospital among the nation’s most modern.All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
  • Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Joe and Julia Llanes. Provide some historical background on the photos/documents. e.g. Joe Llanes, Joe Julian Llanes, and Sarah Tijerina are in the photos , and the photos were taken by Julia Llanes. The photos were taken in Poteet Texas, Corpus Cristi Texas. The photos were taken between 1994. The Special occassions were family get togethers and the process of the Muffler Shop being made. They were from Joe and Julia Llanes photo album, and they were located in the home of Joe and Julia Llanes.

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