By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Two respected names in auto parts for nearly 50 years in the Memphis area are Massey Auto Parts and U-Pull-It.
In Millington, the Massey name started to become a part of the city’s fabric when Abe opened his business in 1971. Years later the family under the guidance of his son Phil found U-Pull-It at 1515 North Watkins in Frayser.
Then on Jan. 20, the inauguration of U-Pull-It in Millington came to the former home of Massey Auto Parts at 7710 Raleigh-Millington.
“We’ve been in Memphis since the beginning of ’06,” Phil said, the president of U-Pull-It. “We are strictly a retail operation, strictly self-served.
“You come in here we are a self-service facility,” he added. “You come in and you need a headlight for your car, we ask you what kind of car is it. We can look up in our system and say the interchange that headlight has. And if we look, we can tell you we have four vehicles on our yard that may or may not have the headlight. You go out and find the headlight.”
Then the name of the business becomes evident.
“You have to pull it yourself,” Massey said. “We don’t provide any tools our pull any parts. But all of our headlights are $29.99.”
What makes U-Pull-It a success and a thriving business is the common pricing. No matter what model or year of the piece, each has a set price. There is a $2 admission to go out to check for the part.
At the 7710 Raleigh-Millington location, a new-building smell along with customer-service reps will be there to greet you. The main building has a remodeled lobby and offices.
On the exterior, old warehouses have been demolished to open up space for 106 parking spots. New fencing is up along the property. More than 1,000 cars along three roads set up in a grid pattern are there for customers to seek that needed auto part.
For decades the Massey family has been in the auto parts business. Abe hired his son as a part-time worker while he attended Millington Central High School. But after earning an Aerospace degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Phil came back home.
“I ended up coming back in ’82 to the family business and have been working here full-time since,” he recalled. “I’ve been part-time since ’74. My Dad is a graduate of Millington Central High School. My sister (Brenda Avery) who is the office manager here graduated from Millington in ’81.
Others a part of the leadership team at the Millington U-Pull-It are general manager John Scheiwer and assistant manager Mickey Strevel.
The staff stays involved in purchasing new cars daily to keep the yard full of options. Back in 1971, Massey Foreign Auto Parts dealt with only imports.
Then about 20 years later the business expanded to domestic cars.
“We sold our parts over the phone and delivered them to auto dealerships, different shops in the Memphis/Shelby County area,” Phil recalled. “As business grew we had a worldwide presence with an eBay store.
Going from a business that was 85 percent wholesale to now 100 percent retail is made easier with an experienced staff, proven system of checking for inventory and customer-friendly options like checking the website www.upullitap.com
“That’s the key here, our job is to try to keep our inventory as fresh as we can,” Massey concluded. “We buy cars every week and we put cars out in the yard Monday through Friday. That’s a very important part of the business. We have good customer service to take care of you and the other customers who come off the street.”
For more information on the Millington U-Pull-It, call 872-2217.