Bobby Williams is the senior partner of Bobby and Steve’s Auto World. Bobby grew up on a farm just South of Mora, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota for five years. In 1954, Bobby started working at his brother Paul’s Standard Oil gas station at Holmes and Lake Street in Minneapolis. After nine years of working for his brother, Bobby’s father mortgaged their family farm to buy Bobby his own gas station — right across the street from his brother’s. Bobby’s business was an instant success, which he says had nothing to do with money. “I never worried about money. I was learning a lot and having fun,” he recalls. “I like serving people, and there’s nothing greater than helping people.” Bobby did so well and had so much fun with his first station that he sold that one and bought three more.
In 1975, Bobby had a dream he would stay in the service station business, and the very next day he got a call to buy a shell station at 494 & France Avenue in Bloomington. This Shell station is the place Bobby met Steve Anderson. “Steve wore those blue tennis shoes and brown pants that I’ll always remember,” Bobby said. Steve would work nights to pay for school. Steve impressed Bobby with his strong work ethic, and is now his partner at Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Bloomington.
From 1975 to 1989 Bobby expanded his business to 12 different stations. In 1990, Bobby suffered a head-on collision which slowed him down and made him realize the 80 – 20 rule. “I had to get rid of the weak stations because eighty percent of my business was coming from twenty percent of my stations,” Bobby said. He sold eight of his stations and focused on four of them. A Shell station at 494 & France Avenue in Bloomington, a Texaco station at 35W and Washington in Minneapolis, a Texaco station at 37th and Central Avenue in Columbia Heights, and a service garage at 58th and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.
In October of 1996, Bobby and Steve Anderson opened the first Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Bloomington, which replaced the old Shell station. Two years later, Bobby and Steve Williams (Bobby’s son) opened Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Minneapolis which replaced the old Texaco station. Its success led to further expansion. In July of 1999, Bobby and Jeff Bahe opened Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Columbia Heights. “Jeff started working for me when he was 15 years old. I remember showing him for the first time how to serve a customer on the drive,” Bobby recalled.
In spring of 2005, Bobby’s team member, Jason Snyder became partner at Jason’s Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Lino Lakes. The much anticipated Bobby and Steve’s Auto World Nicollet opened on June 16th, 2006. By this point, one would think that the Bobby & Steve’s Auto World dream had been fulfilled. However, in 2011, Bobby and partners Steve Anderson and Steve Williams, built the “most amazing” Auto World in Eden Prairie. In 2013, Bobby & Steve’s Auto World crossed the river and opened its first store in West St. Paul.
Steve Anderson is the co-founder of Bobby and Steve’s Auto World. Steve starting working at the Bloomington location in 1978. After 6 years at the University of Minnesota, Steve was interviewing for a career placement with Abbott Labs when Bobby made him a offer he couldn’t refuse. At that time there was a drive-in theater next door and a gravel pit across the street. The station was a little two bay service center with gas pumps that could not go over a $1 per gallon! As time went on, the area developed and so did the station. That was the beginning of Bobby and Steve’s Auto World.
Steve Williams, Bobby’s son, played a vital role in establishing Bobby and Steve’s Auto World locations in downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Avenue, Lino Lakes, and Eden Prairie. Steve passed away in July, 2017 after an 11 1/2 year-long battle with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer prevalent in the petroleum industry. Steve’s legacy is alive and well in his family and the impact Bobby & Steve’s Auto World has had on the community. The Bobby & Steve’s Auto World family was blessed to have Steve in our lives, whether he inspired us directly or through his story.
Allen Sando started with Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in April of 2000. He started working as a Light Service Technician and quickly became the leader of his department. In 2004, Allen was promoted to Service Leader. He ran the #1 service department for several years before becoming the Operations Leader.
Jeff Bahe is Bobby’s partner at Bobby and Steve’s Auto World Columbia Heights location. He has a schooling background in Business, and started working for Bobby in 1977 when he was just 15 years old. In 1986, Jeff had the opportunity to partner with Bobby at the store in Columbia Heights at 37th Ave NE and Central Avenue NE where he operated six gas pumps and three service bays compared to the eighteen gas pumps and ten service bays now. In July of 1999, Bobby and Jeff officially opened Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Columbia Heights.
Melissa Williams Peterson, Director of Operations, has been in the service station business for most of her life. Over the years, Melissa has worn many hats in the company. She is the mother of her six-year-old daughter, Morgan, and is the director of the Nicollet Avenue store in Minneapolis.
Gary DeRusha is the newest Operations Leader Bobby & Steve’s Auto World located in Eden Prairie, MN. His wife Jane joins him on the team as the Store Leader.
Mark is part owner of the West Bloomington Bobby & Steve’s Auto World. Mark has worked for Bobby & Steve’s Auto World since August of 1997 starting his career with Steve Anderson at the France location. Mark’s first position was as Service Leader, and after showing very strong leadership skills, he was promoted to Operations Leader. It wasn’t long after his employment at Bobby & Steve’s Auto World that he knew it was the place for him. Mark became a partner with Bobby and Steve in June of 2007 at the West Bloomington store. He is a Saint Paul native and grew up in the Rice Street area. Mark is married and a father of three.