Jennifer and Andrew Brunson opened The Hub Automotive last September in the Cooper-Young District.
Business so far is exceeding expectations through the shop’s first nine months thanks to straight-forward philosophy of not gouging customers with unneeded parts and repairs.
“Business has been better than we projected,” said co-owner and head mechanic Andrew Brunson, who many times earlier in his career saw problems and thought he would do things differently if he one day owned his own shop. “Twenty-three years of seeing customers get taken advantage of was enough for me, and I decided I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to open up a place that is completely different and based on providing the best service possible to customers.”
Brunson is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master technician with mechanic experience at various dealerships and several small shops around Memphis.
Jennifer and Andrew Brunson are owners of The Hub Automotive at 2200 York Ave. The small repair shop opened last September.
(Daily News/Lance Murphey)
After searching out and purchasing their Midtown location early last year, the Brunsons hired Jeff Blackledge Architecture Studio in Germantown to draw up designs to resemble more of a coffee shop than a repair shop and better blend with the “artsy” surroundings. The contractor on the renovation was T.A. Brown Construction.
“Putting up a normal car shop probably would not have gone too well with the look of the neighborhood,” Brunson said. “Now it looks like it fits in perfectly with Cooper-Young.”
The exterior of the building at 2200 York Ave. also features a patio space that was added mainly as a way for the shop to participate in the annual revelry of the Cooper-Young Festival in September, while being located just off the main festival route.
“Last year when we first opened up, we really enjoyed being able to grill out during the fest and welcome visitors from the community to hang out at the shop,” said Jennifer Brunson, the shop’s co-owner and office manager.
Inside the shop, a glass wall separates the waiting room from the maintenance area, allowing customers to watch the work in progress.
“Customers can see everything that is going on in the shop the whole time they are here,” Jennifer Brunson said. “Because Andrew never liked the fact that customers never knew what was going on with their cars while they were being worked on, now he invites them back to show them what is wrong and explains why the repairs need to be made.”
The maintenance area features state-of-the-art equipment, including an alignment rack, a four-post lift, a two-post lift and the latest computer diagnostics equipment. The work area is also climate-controlled.
“I had never worked in a climate-controlled environment, so that was for my benefit,” joked Andrew, who works in the shop with mechanic Taylor Garrett.
If business continues to grow through the summer, Andrew hopes to hire a couple of new employees by the end of the year.
The shop’s new website is slated to debut later this month, and the Brunsons also maintain a Facebook page to keep in touch with customers and to advertise periodic specials.
“We really do develop a personal relationship with many of our customers,” said Jennifer Brunson, who previously worked for many years as a social worker before deciding to go into business with her husband of 18 years. “We even put our cell phone numbers on our business cards so customers can reach us whenever they need to.”
Despite the fact that there are several competing repair shops nearby, Andrew said he believes there is more than enough potential business for everyone.
“There are simply not enough shops to service the number of cars in the Downtown and Midtown areas,” he said.
The Brunsons are longtime Midtown residents, and Jennifer’s mother lives very near to the shop.
“We love Midtown,” Andrew Brunson said. “I might not be able to take care of the whole city, but I can take care of my neighborhood.”
Cooper-Young Association members receive a 10 percent discount, and the shop offers free clinics where customers can learn how to change a tire or a headlight.
The Hub Automotive is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and provides shuttle service to destinations within a five-mile radius.