The history of Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers begins in November of 1973 when a young man from Milwaukee would open a small two-bay garage and gas station in the heart of Oconomowoc. This was our founder, Walter “Wally” Garlock, whose life and automotive career had led him to this point after receiving a modest loan from his parents to build Silver Lake Shell. Nearly fifty years of history would shape and mold Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers into the second generation family-owned business it is today, but the spirit and drive to deliver phenomenal service to our customers has never changed.
Wally’s career in the automotive industry started from humble beginnings earning a meager wage of $1.15 per hour as a service station attendant in Milwaukee. His early tasks, including pumping gas, sweeping, and shuffling in Oil-Dri, would become the foundation for his development as an industry leader in the auto repair business.
His future as founder and owner of Silver Lake Shell would be on hold for some time, including two years of military service overseas. When Wally returned home, he resumed employment at the same station. With more responsibilities and promotion to full-time status, he was able to learn at an accelerated rate. Along with auto service training, he was also learning how to run a business. Having this knowledge behind him, Wally opened Silver Lake Shell in Oconomowoc on November 15, 1973.
Silver Lake Shell was primed to deliver superb automotive repair and services to the Lake Country area. Wally was also one of the first to add the Sun Computer Diagnostic System to his services, which would signal the beginning of a long history of cutting-edge technology at Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers.
Wally was a forward-thinking businessman whose boys Dan and Darren loved being around the shop. While youngsters in the shop, Dan & Darren were known to cause a little trouble, often caught playing with the tow trucks’ lights and radio until the batteries in those trucks went dead. But they worked hard, too. As shop assistants, they had regular tasks of sweeping and cleaning the floors, washing cars, loading up the soda machines, cleaning bathrooms, and pulling weeds, among many others. Like their father before them, these early years in the shop would see Dan and Darren develop a passion for the automotive industry that would inform the rest of their careers.Letter From The Owner
Throughout the first years of business, Silver Lake Shell continued to grow and add to its family of customers. In July of 1975, the company added a tow truck to its list of services and joined the competitive Oconomowoc area towing market. Over the next ten years, Silver Lake Shell became a staple in this community’s automotive service industry.
In 1991, as the business was prospering, Wally searched for a larger location and began negotiations with Olsen Truck and Car for leasing a new facility on Wisconsin Avenue in the Village of Oconomowoc Lake. In March of that year, Wally opened the new location under the revamped name Silver Lake Auto Center, Inc.
The new business realized rapid growth beyond projections. Sales doubled, and so did the staff, leaping from two full-time and three part-time employees to a total of ten within the first year. This growth continued over the ensuing years, necessitating further development. Thirty years after the establishment of Silver Lake Shell, the business was ready for expansion. Sticking to our Lake Country origins, we introduced our second auto repair location in Hartland in January of 2013.
By this point, Dan and Darren Garlock had spent years honing their skills at their dad’s shop. They had gone from performing oil changes in high school to later becoming master-certified technicians and service writers, and then eventually managing the shops. Years in the making, Wally handed over the business’s reigns to Dan and Darren. On May 12, 2015, Wally retired from Silver Lake Auto Centers, and the name you currently know, Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers, was born.
Who We Are Today
With Dan as President and Darren as Vice President, their vision began to take the shape of expanding our reach with the opening of our Brookfield location in July of 2017 and our newest location in New Berlin in September 2020.
Today, forty years of learning, progress, and hard work have culminated into Waukesha County’s most experienced and consummate automotive service centers. Employing ASE master and multi-area certified technicians, Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers applies state-of-the-art technology to provide guaranteed service. As early adopters of technology and processes at the forefront of the automotive industry, we can perform advanced repairs, such as hybrid and electric vehicle repair and ADAS (advance Drivers Aid Systems) calibration. We also provide a free digital vehicle inspection on every vehicle we service. These digital inspections offer our customers a very detailed picture of the condition of their cars. This inspection report is vital to keeping our customers well-informed about their vehicle’s health and allows our customers to make the best decision possible with all the information about how to best repair and maintain their vehicle.
In addition to our local Better Business Bureau A+ standing, we hold memberships with the nation’s foremost automotive aftermarket leaders, including ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, AAA Approved Auto Repair Center and more. We are also Waukesha County’s top dealer in the most popular name brand tires such as Michelin, BFGoodrich, and Uniroyal.
Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers is wholly dedicated to providing outstanding service that exceeds your preconceived expectations of an auto repair business. With a team of highly-trained automotive technicians, friendly and devoted service team members, and the latest in modern automotive technology, we bring with us the care and convenience you need when receiving automotive services. Learn more about how we also help save your weekend with our Concierge Services.
Our New Location - New Berlin