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About Toy Truck Online

We think it’s fitting that a beloved family tradition inspired our homegrown business.

Varien office pic

Lee and Carolyn Johnson at Yellowstone National Park in August 2009.

It all started at Christmas in 1972 when Lee’s brother-in-law gave our oldest son his first Hess truck: a classic green Hess tanker. That gift stole the show in our house. In fact, our two boys played with it so much that the cab and tanker split in two.

And that’s how our family tradition started.

The editions followed year after year. Every Thanksgiving we made the trek, usually driving two to three hours, to the closest Hess station to buy that year’s model. And every Christmas the boys knew a truck would be waiting for them under the tree. They just didn’t know what it would look like!

Our boys’ delight with the trucks became infectious - spreading to us, friends and even coworkers. Sometimes we’d load the trucks with batteries, turn off the lights in our living room and create our very own Hess parade. What fun it was to watch a caravan of toy trucks with flashing lights travel across the floor.

1972 hess truck
It didn’t take long for people outside the family to notice our hobby. When the boys had friends over, the Hess trucks were at the center of the action. Parents asked us where they could buy the trucks. So we decided to start taking orders. When we made our annual Thanksgiving trip to the Hess station, we picked up dozens of extra trucks - sometimes stopping at multiple stations to find enough trucks to fill all the requests.

Slowly our family tradition turned into a small business. We started selling Hess trucks at toy shows. Then in 1997 we took our business online. Our youngest son created a website for us called Toy Truck Online. We even purchased a vanity tag for our pickup truck: TOY TRK.

Now our business reaches people across the United States. We have customers who live in areas where there aren’t any Hess stations. It makes us so happy that our website serves as a lifeline for their truck collection.

Something else that makes us happy is that our family tradition continues today. Our boys are grown with their own families, but still we make sure there’s a Hess truck under the tree every Christmas. And yes, the truck that started all of this – the one that broke in two – has been replaced with a mint 1972 Hess tanker.

It’s been a wonderful journey and we hope to continue serving our loyal customers.

Lee and Carolyn Johnson