News Column

Ramon's Transfer Celebrates 100 Years in El Paso

Nov. 5, 2012

David Burge, El Paso Times, Texas

Ramon's - old photo

When Ramon's Transfer, the granddaddy of El Paso moving companies -- opened in 1912, William Howard Taft was president, the unsinkable Titanic sank, the first documented parachute jump was made from an airplane, and Fenway Park opened in Boston.

The family-run business celebrated its centennial this year and is now run by third-generation owner Rudy Telles.

"If there is one (a local moving company that's older than us), I'd like to know who it is," said Telles, who has been running his family's business since 1999.

When the company started, the Mexican Revolution was still "going on next door," Telles noted.

"A lot has gone on since then," he said.

His paternal grandfather, Ramon Telles, was a bricklayer

but saw a business opportunity and started the company.

Rudy Telles' father, Joe I. Telles, took over the business in 1936 and ran it until he died in 1999. Rudy Telles, 68, has been running it since then.

He is a member of a longtime El Paso family with deep roots in the community. His uncle, Raymond Telles, was El Paso's first Hispanic mayor, serving from 1957 to 1961.

The company has been located in at least six places that Rudy Telles remembers. It is now headquartered in an old house at 709 Wyoming Ave. on the outskirts of Downtown.

Telles employs about 15 full- and part-time workers. They do residential and commercial moving, primarily in El Paso but also in the rest of Texas.

Telles credits his employees with the enduring success of the business.

The company has had many longtime employees, some of whom had sons who ended up working for the company, too, he said.

Moving can be one of life's many stressful events.

"I tell people to let us take away the worry and let us do the work for you," Telles said.

The company recently celebrated its 100th birthday with a party on Oct. 20 at Memorial Park in Central El Paso. But the exact date when the company started in 1912 isn't known because county records don't go back that far, Telles said.

"But we do know we started in 1912," he said.

Other keys to success are consistency and honesty, Telles said.

"Keeping customers happy and keeping the complaints down," he said. "A lot of companies have come and gone. It's not an easy business. My dad used to tell me, 'You don't want to take this over. I want to see you in a suit and tie.' "

Before taking over the family business, Rudy Telles worked as a sales representative for major companies like Dr Pepper and Velcro. He also owned a country-Western bar called Black Stallion on Dyer Street during the 1980s at the height of the "Urban Cowboy" craze.

That experience with business ownership helped him learn how to navigate paying taxes on a business and how to deal with all the rules and regulations, he said.

Ginger Francis and her family have used Ramon's Transfer for personal and business moves for about 25 years.

Francis is the wife of L. Frederick "Rick" Francis, executive chairman of WestStar Bank and the daughter-in-law of former El Paso Mayor Larry Francis.

"They are always on time," Ginger Francis said. "They are all over it. They are very careful with everything. They load everything carefully and take care of all your items. They are just very pleasant and agreeable. It's very good customer service.

"It's so nice that a local company like this has such deep roots in the community and is such a success," she continued.

Rudy Telles isn't sure whether the business will be handed off to a fourth generation. His only child, Christopher, lives in Dallas and does casting work for the movie industry.

"He has his own career," Telles said. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. That's how we've left it."

Source: (c)2012 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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