Midtown body shop owner plans expansion to Millington in old Chrysler dealership – Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By Tom Bailey Jr., Memphis Commercial Appeal
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The site of a former car dealership in the heart of Millington may not stay vacant long.
A Midtown business, Brewer’s Body Shop, plans to open a second operation in the old Colvett Chrysler building.
Curtis Brewer has a contract to purchase the nearly one-acre site with 10,300 square feet of buildings for $200,000, said Jeff Wages, a commercial real estate agent with Crye-Leike.
If the deal closes in early July, Brewer expects to open his second body shop there by late August.
The former dealership sits at Millington’s central intersection, U.S. 51 at Navy Road.
Brewer said he will hire the same number of people, about 15, who work in his Midtown shop.
The building became available earlier this year after car dealer Homer Skelton purchased Colvett’s inventory and moved the vehicles to Skelton’s new lot at U.S. 51 and Babe Howard Boulevard.
The old Colvett building is owned by the family of the late Cleo Hollingsworth.
Wages, searching for a buyer, said, “I called nearly every automotive user in Shelby County.”
Wages heard that Brewer lives in Rosemark and felt Millington would be a “natural fit” if Brewer wanted to establish a second location.
“That’s what made me feel good about it,” the 59-year-old Brewer said. “It’s right there in the center of Millington.
“I know the north side (of Millington) is growing more, but you’ve got to drive by there to get up there.”
He opened Brewer’s Body Shop at 1401 Poplar in 1985 and has since expanded there.
He was starting to enjoy taking some time off and being semiretired.
“I wasn’t really looking at opening another location. But Mr. Wages called me out of the blue. I walked into the building and had a good feeling about it, that this was the right thing to do for me and maybe for Millington.”
He’ll compete with several other body shops in Millington, including Carey’s Body Shop nearby at 7850 U.S. 51.
Carey Parham, who opened his shop in 1977, questions if there’s enough business for everyone in this economy.
“Curtis has been at this stuff as long or longer than I have and I guess he knows what he’s doing,” Parham said.
More people are getting by by driving older cars. And when they’re wrecked, the older vehicles tend to be totaled instead of repaired, he said.
“All I know is, there are days or weeks or months that we are very slow,” Parham said. “I guess he’ll divide up the pie a little bit more. …
“It’s a free country.”
But Brewer said he has already talked to insurance companies, which will direct repairs to his Millington shop as they do to his Midtown business.
“Millington has grown enough now,” he said. “There’s room for one more.”
— Tom Bailey Jr.: 529-2388