Summer 2010

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Locator UpFront


Ask someone about a particular business and you're likely to get an opinionated response. The Locator asked editor Stacy Phillips, a 14-year veteran in marketing and trade show coordination, to identify the most basic of customer service skills. Phillips has a bachelor's degree in mass communications, advertising and public relations. While the following basics may seem commonsense, they are also the ones most often forgotten during our day-to-day encounters.


When Joey Woodfin needs an opinion, he goes straight to Benny Cunningham. Woodfin, president and founder of EverDrive, LLC in Midlothian, Va. ( said, "We've been in the same circle of business for some time and he's very sharp ... easily one of the sharpest guys I know. I've found it helpful to bounce ideas off him. Sometimes they're hare-brained and he tells me I'm crazy ... or that he thinks it could work."


Even firefighters need practice. That's why F. John Azevedo, owner and president of Pacific Auto Salvage, Inc., American Canyon, Calif., sets aside vehicles and space on his property for the fire department and other charities. It's been a tradition for 18 years and it's more vehicles than just a couple. On average, 50 vehicles per year find the end of the road at a charitable function.


Heavy rains deluged Nashville, Tenn. and the surrounding communities May 1 - 2. The heavy rainfall continued for 48 hours and caused rivers to swell out of their banks. The rain came so hard and fast - more than 17 inches total - that flood precaution systems were overwhelmed. Unfortunately, for Massey's Auto Parts, Inc., Millington, Tenn., that included a drain channel behind the facility. The channel, built after the near-legendary flood on Christmas Eve 1987, couldn't contain the rising waters.


Tim McMillon, owner of M & K Used Auto Parts, Inc. in Orange City, Fla., wants his business to be the auto-recycling superstar of Florida. A family-owned company since 1958, it has seen two successions (founder AA McMillon to son Milton McMillon to son Tim) and could see a third in the next decade.


Jerry Bennett is a businessman. He has owned several businesses throughout the years including video stores, frozen yogurt shops, equipment rental places and construction ventures. Most recently, he decided to try his hand at auto recycling and opened Airborne Auto Salvage in Big Rapids, Mich. (


Summer means warm weather, grilled hot dogs, swimming pools and cruising with the top down. It also means that once a week about 700 classic vehicles park at Mark's Auto Parts & Recyclers, Inc. in East Granby, Conn.


Visit Auto Sports Unlimited's large warehouse in Zeeland, Mich., and you'll see a lot of parts. What you won't see are vehicles. A remote location six miles away stores all the parts.


One evening late last month, I found myself behind an SUV that was driving erratically on the interstate. The vehicle repeatedly crossed the centerline and veered onto the shoulder. I instantly thought the driver was drunk. Not so. Once on the off-ramp, I could see the driver was texting.
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