Tennessee Auto Salvage
Greg Duncan is exactly where he wants to be. He is surrounded by a dedicated group of employees that feel more like family. If he could have planned out his career in advance, he couldn't have done any better.
"I'm addicted to buying cars," he joked, "and I get to indulge in that as part of my job."
Greg has been at the helm of Tennessee Auto Salvage, located in Greenbrier, Tenn., for the past five years, ever since his father, Don Duncan, retired from the business. The father / son team started the business in 1989, after Don retired from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and had a brief stint with rebuildable wrecks.
"My father knew cars," said Greg. "I learned hands-on by pulling parts."
The Duncans initially marketed the business to wholesale customers - body shops, insurance companies, and repair facilities. It was a successful strategy and business flourished.
"We were processing 800 to 1,000 vehicles a year," admitted Greg. "We even started a u-pull-it yard on our property. We kept 500 to 700 cars there, after we pulled off the parts that we wanted."
A new office was built in in 1995. Three years later, the Duncans constructed an additional 150-by-60 square-foot warehouse.
"Everyone remembers the tornado that hit downtown Nashville in 1998," said Greg. "But no one remembers the week before when a tornado hit Tennessee Auto Salvage. It took out half of our new warehouse and all of our tear-down building."
The disaster slowed the business down, but it didn't completely stop it. Rebuilding started the very next day.
"We still had about 50 percent capacity," stated Greg. "We patched the warehouse and planned on going bigger with another 150-by-60 building. We finished them both."
Back To Basics
The Duncans closed the self-service facility in 2001 to focus more on wholesale customers, their original business strategy. As a late-model specialist, that includes both foreign and domestic autos and trucks, Tennessee Auto Salvage became the preferred supplier for insurance companies and auto dealers.
"We'll do whatever it takes to make our customers happy," said Greg. "We get it right the first time. If you order it before 4:30 p.m. today, we'll have it on the truck at 8 a.m. tomorrow."
Due to a high demand for motors and drive lines, Tennessee Auto Salvage partnered with a remanufactured engine and transmission company in 2010. It can now ship the same, or next, day.
Tennessee Auto Salvage runs three delivery trucks daily with routes throughout Nashville and the surrounding area, including southern Kentucky. It also has a unique internal transportation system.
"We have four vans fully equipped as mini-garages," explained Greg. "We don't use torches to pull parts, but we've put everything else that you would possibly need on a van. You can hit the air compressor and knock off a door. We cut a ton of quarters. It's like a roving garage. We've been doing it this way for 20 years."
Greg praises his employees, who have been with him for five years or more, for helping to make the business a success.
"We have no employee turnover," he said. "We get along like family. For two years in a row, I took the sales staff and their spouses to Cancun. It was great to relax with everybody."
As for what the future holds, Greg is ready to build-again.
"We've outgrown this office," he said. "This time, we're probably going to build one big building."
Owner: Greg Duncan
Location: Greenbrier, Tenn.
Years In Business: 23