CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – If you have lived here or spent any time in the Lowcountry, odds are you have seen their commercials and heard that all-too-familiar phrase: “Wheeeeee, just havin’ fun!”
Would you believe me if I told you Gerald’s Tires and Brakes made their locally iconic commercial over 25 years ago? It’s still on the air today.
And guess what, many of the faces you see in those ads are still working at Gerald’s.
I caught up with several of them who say after all these years they are still having fun.
“My ‘weeee’ got a bit ‘wheeee,’” joked Clint Watts, who joked about the pitch in his voice. “I can’t hit the high notes anymore.”
It’s not the only thing that has changed. “I’ve added a few LB’s, lost some hair, the hair that I still have is gray,” he joked.
Watts was basically a kid when the Gerald’s commercial was made and never thought that simple phrase would hang on and define a business for so long.
“You can’t plan that,” he said. “People pay millions of dollars to figure out something that would catch like that. That just fell out and happened on its own.”
And while the commercial and that slogan have endured, so have the people who also had roles in the ad; having fun after all these years, I caught up with a half dozen of them.
There’s James; “It’s been a great run, been enjoying it and still having fun,” he said. “Been here pretty much since the late ’80s.”
He’s the one with the South Carolina waterfall. “Yes, it was a mullet. It was the 80’s and 90’s, c’mon!”
And Marvin McFadden: “Wheee, it’s a great day at Gerald’s today.”
Over 25 years later, we see it again. “Wheeee, it’s a great day at Gerald’s today!”
Marvin and Bob Devereaux have been with the same company for over 50 years combined.
“We are family, so we just stick together,” said McFadden. “Since day one, they treat you like family and that is why people are here so long.”
Scott Cook is going on 31 years at Gerald’s. You’ll remember his voice. “It’s a great day at Gerald’s Tires and Brakes, this is Scott, how may I help you?”
“My kids, whenever they started getting older, realized it was me and were like ‘dad, you had black hair back then.’ Everybody gets a kick out of it. We have fun with it,” he said.
So, in a way, that one simple phrase… “Weeee, just havin’ fun” has become their motto.
Just ask Greg Fisher. “Man, I can’t believe I was that young once,” he said. “Who was that guy?”
Fisher has been taking care of customers for nearly 38 years.
“They take care of the customers; they take care of employees. That means a lot,” he said.
So, while Gerald’s Tires and Brakes can be called a successful business, dating all the way back to 1964, it was that commercial – that phrase – so many years ago that has encapsulated what it means for many to work there and stay there.
“We’re just good ole country boys and God just said if you go out and work hard, you can be successful and make a good living for your family and we feel like the company is a big family,” said Watts.
Commitment and loyalty seem to be working. Gerald’s now has six locations with a seventh on the way.