KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee business with a goal of keeping drivers safe is celebrating a milestone. Matlock Tire is marking its 70th anniversary with a special Veterans Day event to say thank you to the community and to honor veterans.
Inside the flagship store in Lenoir City, it’s more than business as usual behind the scenes and out front as the family-owned company gets ready to celebrate seven decades in business.
All around the store, you see photos of its history and the Matlock family through the years. There’s also a Wall of Honor dedicated to veterans. On the wall are photos of national monuments and local veterans including some who work at the store.
“It began about 15 years ago. We thought, ‘We’ve got to do something here to show appreciation for people in this community’,” said owner Jimmy Matlock.
Matlock Tire was founded by Joe Matlock in 1953.
“My father came out of high school, opened up an Esso service station, began pumping gas, washing cars, lubricating cars,” said Matlock.
After his death at the age of 47, his son continued his father’s legacy.
“My father was really engaged with customer service and he believed you took care of that customer,” Matlock said.
The Matlocks said 64% of their customers are women which is reflected in the business model.
Jimmy Matlock’s son, Joe, said his father’s influence is seen throughout the store.
“We have nicer waiting areas, have rocking chairs out front, clean bathrooms is huge with him. First thing we do in the morning is clean the bathrooms, make sure they’re clean, so we want to cater to that demographic, cater to everybody,” said Joe.
The business that began in 1954 with $19 tires continues to evolve with an eye to the future and appreciation for the past.
“Things are definitely changing,” Joe Matlock said, “with electric vehicles, with new technology and we want to be on the cutting edge of that and we try to be, but what we don’t want to lose focus on is the service that got us to this point.”
Matlock Tire in Lenoir City is hosting a celebration on November 11, Veterans Day, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with food, games, inflatables for kids and more. It’s a thank you to the community for its support these past 70 years and a way to honor veterans.