Don and David Maddox, sons of Service Auto parts co-founder Owen Maddox, shared their memories in response to my recent article on the business.
Again, thanks for putting this in the Chattanoogan. It brought back many good memories of the days I worked with my father selling auto parts here in Chattanooga.
Both Hollin Williams and my father, Owen Maddox started out working for an auto parts warehouse called Jobbers Warehouse located at Cowart and Main streets back in the early fifties. Both Hollin and Owen were outside salesmen for the company and the owner, Jimmy Parker, saw that they were interested in going into their own business and helped them get started on Brainerd Road at the corner of Tunnel Blvd in an old, abandoned gas station. It was small, had a basement with dirt walls, and was cheap to rent, so that’s where they started out.
I was about 6 years old at the time but spent some time there because my mother helped keep the books. After a few years there, the old Austin Feed Store across the street became available and the company moved across the street where there was more room for expansion.
I have attached a picture of the old Austin Feed store taken after it was being converted to the Service Auto Parts store at 3462 Brainerd Road. You can see the scaffolding in front. This was taken around 1960.
Soon after that they opened the East Ridge store, and then in 1970 opened the Hwy 58 location. Next to open were the Hixson location and then East Brainerd and McFarland Avenue. Both my brother and I worked there as kids cleaning, putting stock up and later driving delivery trucks. We both worked in the business until we sold it to NAPA in 1986.
My father and Hollin Williams always treated their customers with respect and honesty, truly believing that Service did come first.
In 1978, Hollin retired and sold his half of the business to my father. In 1986, NAPA Auto Parts of Atlanta purchased all 5 locations from my father and ran them under their name. Today, the only location NAPA has in Chattanooga is located near Lee Smith International.
My name is David Maddox the older of two sons of Owen Maddox. Thank you so much for the article on our family business service auto parts. My father, brother Don and myself bought out dad's partner in the late 70's and continued to operate and grow the business. We sold to NAPA in 1986.
My dad died in 2006 and at his funeral many many men came to pay their respect to an honest and caring business man and friend.