Most Influential Real Estate Owners
Danny, Jimmie & Benny Cunningham, Cunningham Brothers Auto Parts, Virginia
PHOTO: TIFFANY MARTIN
The Cunningham brothers - Benny, Danny and Jimmie - help other auto recycling facilities succeed.
"These guys will come in, clean up your process, improve your business and help it grow," said Tracy Lewis, president of Action Auto Parts in Hopewell, Va. (Cunningham-Brothers.com/action.html). Lewis knows from personal experience. He approached the brothers and they offered to partner with him.
"We went from literally nowhere to tripling, even quadrupling, our business," said Lewis. "Best of all, they gave me an opportunity to continue my role here, to own the business and run it. They come up with the ideas and we put them into action."
The brothers, owners of Cunningham Brothers Auto Parts, Inc. (Cunningham-Brothers.com) in Rustburg, Va., acquired their expertise through trial and error. They entered the industry by working at their father W.C. Cunningham's facility as teens. They opened their first auto recycling facility right out of high school in 1981.
The facility became so successful the brothers became the "go to" guys for tips and strategies. Consequently, the Cunninghams have a growing real estate portfolio. They own the Rustburg, Va. facility, plus have interests in Greensboro Auto Parts Company, Inc. (GAPCO) in Greensboro (GreensboroAutoParts.com), Old Dominion Auto Salvage, Inc. in Roanoke (OldDominionAuto.net) and the above mentioned Action Auto Parts.
"These guys will help anyone who needs it," said Lewis. "They care about what's happening in the industry and what's going on in the community. That's why they are so meticulous about meeting every single environmental regulation."
Mary Howell, executive director of the Virginia Automotive Recyclers Association (VARA, VARecyclers.com) has known the Cunningham brothers for five years.
"They changed Old Dominion Auto Salvage from a full-service yard to a u-pull-it," she said. "They're working now to get permits for development of a shopping mall at the front end of the facility.
"I'm very grateful for their 'can do' attitude," she added. "They're always willing to share. They have my utmost respect."