VOL. 126 | NO. 30 | Monday, February 14, 2011
Memphis Small Business Spotlight
Culture of Loyalty Breeds Success for Jack Morris Auto Glass
By Allison Buckley
In 1955, Jack Morris of Jack Morris Auto Glass went to work for his father-in-law, B.F. Howard.
John Morris is the president of Jack Morris Auto Glass, a family owned company that has been in business for more than 50 years and is one of the busiest glass repair companies in the area. (Photo: Lance Murphey)
At the time, a deal was proposed; if at the end of Morris’ first year, both men were happy working together, Morris would receive 50 percent of what was originally The Auto Glass Co., founded in 1951, along with the title of president.
Apparently things worked out for the best. Fifty-six years and a name change later, Jack Morris Auto Glass is now run by proud President John Morris, Jack Morris’ son. Jack Morris Auto Glass turns out more than 4,000 jobs per month, which is the result of a basic theme at the business.
“It’s our culture,” John Morris said. “If I am loyal to our people and I respect our people and I have high hopes and goals for our people, then they respond.”
John Morris did not immediately join the family business. After studying structural engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and receiving his master’s degree from the University of Memphis, Morris chose to join his father at Jack Morris Auto Glass.
“How many sons have the opportunity to work with their father on a daily basis?” he said. “Every day we talk about the business, we talk about family, we talk about life. … My best education has come through working with my father in the family business.”
At Jack Morris Auto Glass, the first core value aspires to respect all associates.
One such associate is Bridgette Dawson, assistant manager of Jack Morris Auto Glass on Mount Moriah Road.
“Everything we do here at Jack Morris is done out of respect for our owners, employees and customers, thus allowing us to provide the Mid-South with the most outstanding customer service and glass installation of any auto glass company in the area,” Dawson said.
Before Jack Morris Auto Glass was the largest installer of auto glass in the Mid-South, it was one of about 20 glass companies in Memphis. Today, Jack Morris Auto Glass accounts for half the work of more than 50 auto glass companies in the area.
Jack Morris Auto Glass offers seven locations, including four in Memphis and one each in Jackson, Tenn., Nashville and Paducah, Ky., along with more than 50 mobile units throughout half the state of Tennessee.
Auto glass installers Travis Morse, left, and Robby Williams install a windshield at Jack Morris Auto Glass.
At any location, customers can expect to find the Jack Morris Auto Glass motto: “We’re not big enough to be able to afford unhappy customers.”
“Through the years, we’ve shown steady growth.” John Morris said. “The reason is we’re committed to 100 percent customer satisfaction.”
Jack Morris Auto Glass offers auto glass repair at the convenience of its customers through its Your Place or Mine service, which brings the repairs to the customer if necessary. This is one reason, backed by its more than 80 associates, that Jack Morris Auto Glass is surviving the recession.
“We had a pretty good year last year. If you read the paper, most companies didn’t and it’s because we worked harder, worked smarter and asked everybody to assist us,” said founder and current chairman of Jack Morris Auto Glass, Jack Morris, before laughing and adding, “‘Chairman,’ that’s just something I made up.”
At the onset of the recession in 2008, Jack Morris Auto Glass went a step further by pledging zero layoffs to its associates. In return, John Morris expected all of his associates to go the extra length for their customers and with a perfect A+ from the Better Business Bureau it’s safe to say the associates of Jack Morris Auto Glass did not disappoint him.
“If the pie shrinks, OK,” John Morris said. “We just need to get a bigger piece of the pie.”
Although he has been running Jack Morris Auto Glass for more than a decade, Morris still receives advice from his father.
“I always tell him it’s his decision,” Jack Morris said. “‘Listen to me – make your own decision because you’re going to get the credit if it’s right and you’re going to get the blame if it’s wrong.’”