Cars are indispensable necessities for many Memphians who don’t live close to their jobs. When they break down, the repairs often are costly and can force some tough choices to be made.
Many drivers are delaying those repairs. That’s according to Memphis-based AutoZone Inc., which says the average car on the road today is a little past the decade mark.
That’s one reason Madison Automotive, a Memphis-based car repair shop, will attempt to make Christmas extra special next month for a few hard-pressed car owners.
The business is reprising a holiday campaign it’s done for three years now. It involves giving back to the community by donating what amounts to thousands of dollars’ worth of car repair service to help needy people, families or charities.
Madison Automotive is taking nominations through Dec. 14 of deserving recipients. The point of the nominating letters is simple. They’re supposed to explain why the nominee being written about should get the service.
Submissions will be whittled down to a select few. Napa Auto Parts is donating the parts needed for repairs that are made, and the shop itself is donating the labor and any other parts that don’t come from Napa.
Master technician Mike Meyers works on a cylinder head at Madison Automotive. The company will repair two vehicles for free over the holidays for the neediest, most deserving people.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
Winners in the past have received repairs totaling as much as $25,000 in retail services.
Jeff Moore, who owns the Madison Automotive location at 440 Union Ave. and is the managing partner of a second location, said the business got 300 to 400 responses the first time the effort was done.
“And a group of employees, we sat around one weekend and went through the whole list and narrowed it down to two over a three- or four-day period,” he said. “We brought those cars in and spent between $3,000 and $5,000 at the retail level on each car. We got them totally fixed up, ready to go through the city inspection process if they needed to be and made them reliable, dependable cars for people who may have lost jobs, had health issues or got screwed on a car by a car lot.”
Moore still recalls some of the stories of those drivers in need. One young woman was still in school and couldn’t afford to repair her car because of her school bills. Another had a sick child, which strained her resources. Still another had lost a job and then seen the car break down.
That person got a new job, but needed to get the car fixed to get to the new job.
“This is just a way for us to give back to the community a little bit after it’s supported us for the last 20-plus years,” Moore said.
Nominations can be mailed to either Madison Automotive location – on Union Avenue or the location at 2457 Covington Pike.
The shop will announce the recipients of its effort Dec. 21. The vehicles will be repaired and returned to the owner shortly after the New Year.
“This’ll be the third time we’ve done it in the last five years,” Moore said.
Madison Automotive is a Napa AutoCare Center, which provides nationwide warranty on all repairs and works to provide the highest quality in automotive repair.
Examples of services provided at Madison – a business that dates back to 1992 – include oil and filter changes; 30,000-, 60,000- and 90,000-mile service; electrical repairs; tune-ups; air conditioner service, and more.
The shop is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I took over my original shop, which was originally at McLean and Madison next door to where Neil’s used to be before it burned,” Moore said. “This past September we moved to a larger facility on Union Avenue, and we quadrupled our size.
“Five years ago Nov. 1 we opened a second shop on Covington Pike. My service manager at the time went in as a partner and opened that store. We’re basically a bumper-to-bumper repair facility for all mechanical and electronic and electrical systems on a car.”
The shop’s creed is “Making your car care worry-free.”
“We’re just a locally owned and operated small business here in Memphis,” Moore said. “And we do the best we can and try to treat the customers like we’d want to be treated if we walked into this business.”