With more than 40 years of shared experience, Tim Weekly and Hunter Vernon know how to fix a car.
Weekly’s oft-said “you just never know until you try” is a perspective that has driven the business since its conception between two old friends. Hours of soul searching and many conversations later, the pair opened Franklin Automotive – an independent automotive service center that offers maintenance and repair – in the heart of downtown Franklin just a few weeks ago.
The business partners say they aren’t inventing the wheel, just offering locals an honest auto company that keeps its customers at its core.
“Of course, an accurate diagnosis and customer care are the top priorities for us,” Vernon said. “We’ll go the extra mile for you here.”
Franklin Automotive can provide operations for vehicles that span the spectrum, and services include everything from brake repairs and oil changes to tuneups, complete car diagnoses and transmission needs.
Both Weekly and Vernon got their start in the auto mechanic world, first by crouching between tires to shed a little light on their fathers’ work. While holding a flashlight isn’t the most glamorous pastime to a teenage boy, both men share nods of agreement when noting that it’s often there that you get your start in this industry.
Today, Weekly boasts an ASE master technician certification along with dealership training from Toyota, Nissan, Saturn, Hyundai, Mazda and General Motors. Vernon is also ASE certified, and has vast experience in all manner of vehicles–whether they be motorcycles, ATVs or those good old Chevy trucks. With over four decades of combined experience, the pair have come a long way from behind their fathers’ flashlights.
“We’re not professional salesmen, we come from the back of the shop. You’ll see us working on your car. We’re invested in our business and we want to make sure we do a good job,” Weekly said. “We know Franklin is a community that is supportive when small business owners like us are hands on.”
Both Weekly and Vernon say they’re taking a “good neighbor” approach to the business, with an emphasis on accurate, fair diagnoses, affordable pricing and customer care.
And though they’ll use the latest technology to keep clients informed, their first strategy for tackling car troubles is simple: when customers first walk into Franklin Automotive, they’re often invited for what Vernon calls “a couple mile road test.”
“We’ll jump in the car, go for a ride and see exactly what’s going on. A lot of the time, I’m listening or feeling for something that’s different than what the customer has noticed yet. We like to ride with customers so we can get a feel for the problem before starting any work. It’s more fair to them, that way,” he said.
Weekly was 14-years-old when his father gave him his first job. Their backyard garage had finally produced a mechanical piece suited for his skillset: a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower. Although the lawn mower was no Cadillac, Mercury or Thunderbird, it did have an engine.
Vernon shared an All-American experience with his father: at age 16, he purchased his first car – a 1983 Chevy pickup – that he stripped with his father for a restoration job.
“We learned trial by error. We’ve taken just about everything with a motor apart and put it back together,” Weekly said.
The co-owners say they’re hoping that aforementioned friendly approach to business, and extensive industry knowledge, will earn Franklin Automotive a fair reputation and help them lend a hand around their new community, too.
“We’re looking forward to getting involved, and supporting local schools,” Weekly said.
“We loved the Franklin community when deciding where to set up shop because of that involvement. People here want to get to know you, and it’s got that downtown neighborly feel. That’s what makes it so special.”
For more information on Franklin Automotive, go to www.franklinautomotivetn.com or visit them during regular store hours, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.