C.J. Wagner Inc. a third generation family business since 1940
Calvin Wagner’s association with the automobile began as a young man while living on the family farm in Maryland. Calvin came from a large family and his mechanical skills surfaced while helping to keep the farm machinery in working order. While trying to keep the family vehicle roadworthy Calvin’s parents had accrued a significant debt to the local auto repair shop. The garage owner Mr. Thompson agreed to allow Calvin to work for him in order to pay the bill. Calvin discovered he had the ability to work on automobiles and enjoyed it more than farming, so much so that before long he moved in with the Thompson’s.
Around 1930 Frantz Behney, a distant relative, visited Calvin and offered Calvin a position as a mechanic at his dealership in Myerstown to which Calvin eagerly agreed and took the job. Calvin worked for Behney as a mechanic for the next several years.
In 1935 Calvin went to work for Paul R. Weaber in Bethel Township where he managed a car repair business, he remained there until 1940 when he learned that Behney was closing his shop. Calvin came back to Myerstown, obtained a small loan from a local doctor and bought the Behney Building from his old boss. He continued with the sales and service until 1942 when they dropped sales because of the war effort. Calvin acquired the Chrysler / Plymouth franchise when automobile production resumed in 1946 and the business prospered in the postwar economy.
In 1965 despite a thriving business Calvin moved his shop from 837 S. Railroad St., where A&H Industries resides today, to a larger operation with more traffic on the Southwest corner of Routes 422 and 501. Calvin had four sons and four daughters but Ken the youngest son showed interest in continuing on with the business and came on as the second generation co-owner. C. J. Wagner discontinued its new car sales in 1980 when Chrysler was teetering on bankruptcy but continued selling used cars until 2007. Calvin passed away in 1986 and Ken took over where he left off. Today Ken’s son Stuart is a shop technician and desires to keep the business going and has become the third-generation co-owner.
C. J. Wagner has evolved with automotive technology to meet the needs of the community it serves. Their service department has been successful due to a large investment in diagnostic equipment and education for their technicians. The body shop has a modern paint room and fulfills all insurance company requirements and 24 hour towing service is also available. The next time your vehicle is in need of repair call C. J. Wagner and let their friendly personnel demonstrate to you why this family owned business is still going strong after 80 years.