POCATELLO — Those who visit the automotive upholstery shop at 128 S. Second Ave. may be surprised to discover the rich history that Wild Things Truck and Car Accessories has to offer.
The business that has gone through three generations and now has three locations was jump-started on the then-country roads of Yellowstone Avenue in the 1940s.
“In the late 1940s, my grandfather Ludvig Nielsen started doing upholstery in his garage with his sons’ help,” said Jeff Nielsen, owner of the Pocatello location. “The upholstery business started out in their garage and shop out on Yellowstone Avenue close to where Costco is currently located when that was all country road and farmhouses, and then later moved to a location on First Street, finally finding its home where we are currently located on South Second.”
Jeff explained that his grandfather, who was then a firefighter and worked upholstery jobs on his days off, learned the skills from his brother, Harold, who owned his own upholstery business in Ogden, Utah. Ludvig also learned how to upholster furniture and incorporated these services into the business in Pocatello.
It wasn’t until years later that Jeff’s parents, Scott and Linda Nielsen, expanded the business into accessorizing trucks and cars.
“We were still doing vehicle restorations and so the accessories were a natural addition to the business,” Jeff said.
Over the years, they’ve added products to their inventory that they sell and install ranging from camper shells to grill guards to seat covers, as well as utility terrain vehicle accessories. They also tackle non-vehicle projects such as upholstering antique furniture and family heirlooms.
“On the truck and car accessory side, we do a variety of things,” he said. “One of the most popular things right now is spray-in bed liners.”
While Jeff mans the Pocatello location, his sister Julie Murdoch manages the Idaho Falls location and his brother Rick Nielsen manages the Twin Falls shop. Yet already there’s a growing fourth-generation of Nielsens working at Wild Things, cementing the family-centered theme of the business.
“This is a family business to the core,” Jeff explained. “The business had been handed down three generations now, from my grandfather to my father and now to my siblings and I. … At my store I have my son and two daughters working for me. I also often have my grandsons there, the fifth generation, who are still small but think they are a lot of help.”
In addition to being a family-centered business, Wild Things Truck and Car Accessories also tries to get involved in cultivating a positive community. The business supports many youth sports and organizations, and has been involved in the Eastern Idaho State Fair and the Holt Arena’s Spring Fair.
“As a family-owned business (that) has been around for generations, we pride ourselves on taking care of our customers,” Jeff said. “We believe in hard work and top-quality products. I am still very involved in every install ensuring that things are done right. We want our customers to be happy and we love when we have repeat customers or, even better, when our customers become our friends. We appreciate when people support us and hope our customers know how much it means to us.”
For anyone interested in learning more about Wild Things Truck and Car Accessories, visit their website at wildthingsonline.co, call 800-657-5527, or visit their store at 128 S. Second Ave. for more information. The business is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.