In 1962, Clifford Smith opened Smith’s Wrecker service on Barksdale Boulevard in Bossier City. Today, 56 years later, Smith’s Wrecker Service is owned and operated by Smith’s granddaughters, Candy Smith-Jett and Shanakay Broussard. Still working out of the same building as when their grandfather started the business, the two sisters enjoy working together in such close quarters. The women conduct state inspections, dispatch tow trucks and answer the never-ending, ringing phones in the office.
“But I’m the boss,” Smith-Jett said. “It just made sense for there to be one boss. There was no use in all of us stressing out over the same decisions. Having one boss in the office makes it easier.”
This division of labor and responsibility works well for the family. Smith-Jett and Broussard have worked in the family business their entire lives.
“Every now and then we’ll have men come in who ask to speak to the ‘boss man,’” Smith-Jett said. She replies with one definitive statement: “You’re looking at her.”
“Sometimes men will ask us where the man doing the inspections is,” Broussard added. “But once they have experience with us, they know we’re better at it and faster, too.”
The sisters have enough experience to know this work is not for the faint of heart. Every now and then, even the tow trucks break down, and they have to find ways to work around the problem and get the job done.
“Towing is a 24/7 job. It’s long hours and a lot of work, but we love working at a family business,” said Smith-Jett.
While new customers come in regularly, many of the customers who come through Smith’s Wrecker Service have been customers of the family for years. Once in a while, an original customer of Clifford Smith will come through the shop to visit. The sisters take pride in the legacy of the family business.
When they’re not conducting inspections and dispatching trucks, Smith-Jett and Broussard are looking for opportunities to give back to the community. Every Friday evening the women take food and clothes downtown to serve the city’s homeless population.
Last year, the business got a call to tow a car from downtown Shreveport. Upon further investigation, the sisters realized that someone was living in the car. By the time the owner came to claim the car, the bill was quite expensive.
“We were able to work something out to help that person, and that felt great,” Smith-Jett said.
“We’re not here to get rich. We’re here because we like to help people and we get to work together,” Broussard said. “When you’re broken down, you want someone who will come get you and help you get to where you need to go.”