Recollections of Brior Auto Parts: part 6
By Carter E. Anthony
The other dealerships in town, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, did not call us much. It probably was because their shelves were well-stocked with the most-likely needed parts and also that there weren’t that many of those cars in Greenville.
As mentioned earlier there were independent repair shops and we served a lot of them. Bill Cassidy served them in the three county area weekly. One afternoon Mr. John asked if I could work late for a little overtime.
Of course I could! After everybody left, he asked me to back the GMC up to the side door and he wheeled a Chevrolet engine block to the tailgate. We both got it into the truck and he told me to drive.
We went down Highway 31 to a dirt road just before the big intersection, turned right and drove a mile to a small repair shop.
There were some “dirt track cars” parked around that really piqued my interest. I hooked the motor to the winch, lifted it up, out and down, the man on the ground un-hooked it, signed Mr. John’s receipt and we drove away. There was hardly a word spoken. I was curious but didn’t ask and got my overtime pay.
Mr. Amos Harrison’s shop next to the Dairy Queen also comes to mind. He was a big man, an extremely nice man always humming a tune and he was a thorough auto repair man.
The service stations like W. J. Owens’ Gulf Station on the Courthouse Square and Wayne Parker’s Pure Station at the intersection of U.S. 31 and 10 often needed oil and air filters.
One of the customers who stands out is Mr. Reith Jones’ manufacturing facility for Cortez Motorhomes. It was located in two metal buildings on Highway 10 just east of the U.S. 31 intersection in what is now Parker Towing and Salvage.
Mr. Jones’ facility was one of the first motorhome manufacturers. He built a reasonably good motorhome on a Dodge chassis with a big Dodge truck motor. He was kind enough to walk me through it one day. It was literally a beehive of activity turning out a good number of motorhomes each day with a pretty good payroll.
Of course we had good walk-in traffic. A daily visit from the Butler County barn was not unusual. If Mr. John was at the counter he would ask the foreman, “How are you feeling today James?” James would answer back, “I’m hell when I’m well and I ain’t never been sick”. Same thing every time!
Their needs were seldom large but there were a lot of orders for small stuff like filters, points and condensers and brakes. Timber managers and loggers were good walk-in customers.
The Sessions family from Pineapple would often drive to Greenville for parts for their trucks and logging vehicles as did the Casey family from Lowndes County.
Not many individuals came in, but a well-dressed, well-spoken, college professor type stands out. He walked up to the counter and told us he had just driven in from Chicago to visit family. During his trip a headlamp had burned out and he wanted to replace it himself.
One of the younger men waited on him and brought out the correct replacement. The charge was $24.95. Leonard Waring had come out of the shop for a while. He walked over to me and said don’t post that sale, it’s coming back, we just sold that gentleman one headlamp for the price of a case of six.
I held the ticket out and sure enough the nice gentleman returned the next day saying that headlamp would not fit his car. I watched as he walked down the street and into Speed Auto Supplies.