Hard Work • Honest Service • Thankful Hearts

From Humble Beginnings to Celebrating a Successful 70 Year Family Legacy

This year is a huge milestone for Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair as they are commemorating 70 years as a now third generation family owned business. With five locations and almost 100 employees, Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair is a testament to how proper perspective and genuine customer service can grow a business out of humble but honest beginnings. Everything Knoxville met with Joe Matlock, their Vice President of Operations at the Lenoir City location, to discuss the history, growth, and future of Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair.    

EK: As a third generation Matlock and your grandfather’s namesake, when did you first become involved in the family business?

Joe: When I was young, I honestly never intended to be a part of Matlock Tire Service. I began working here when I was a teenager as a means of restitution after wrecking my dad’s truck and needing to pay for the repairs, and I have been here ever since! Through my father, our customers, and our many long-time employees, I have learned the value of doing things the right way and for the right reasons.

EK: Why do you think that Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair has lasted “the test of time?” 70 years is an impressive time span!

Joe: Well, our business philosophy has always been simple and two fold: Operate the business with integrity and serve our customers better than anyone else. We truly believe that is what has carried us to where we are today. We are now proudly serving the 3rd and sometimes 4th generations of local families. Our great team of employees and the level of service we have aspired to maintain are strong factors in what separates us from our competitors and allows us to continue to grow.

We give God all the credit for having seen us through the good times and the hard times. We by no means believe that we have been given “preferential treatment” or that He cares more for our business than others, but we are just so thankful that God continues to watch over our company and our people that we strive to honor Him daily with how we conduct ourselves and our business.

EK: You mention Matlock’s employees often. What makes them so special?

Joe: Our incredible team of people have definitely contributed to the growth of our business. We are proud to employ five people who have been with us for more than 40 years, 11 for more than 30 years, and 17 for more than 20 years! That kind of commitment is hard to find in today’s business environment, and we certainly don’t take that for granted. Our belief is that if we take good care of our team, they will in turn take good care of our customers.

It is our long-term staff plus the fact that we are a locally based, family owned business that differentiates us from other tire and service stations. You can throw a rock down Kingston Pike and hit five different tire stores, but our job is to do more than just sell you tires and get you out the door. At Matlock, we want to be an all inclusive tire and repair facility that serves our customers better than anywhere else. We are a relationship based business, and our people enjoy greeting customers by name when they walk in the door.

EK: Where is Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair headed as a company?

Joe: We intend to keep our hometown, small business level of service by continuing to sponsor nearby schools and churches and by being involved members in the local chambers of commerce. At Matlock, it’s important that the dollars spent with us stay in our area to support the very community that has supported us. We have several 70th Anniversary events planned this year to honor the occasion, including some big sales this summer and fall.

We are also determined to stay on the cutting edge of industry and technological changes. For example, electric vehicles are becoming more common, and that is a definite shift in our industry – there are now tires made specifically for electric vehicles. Cars are also more computerized than ever before. You used to think of a mechanic as a grease covered man with a rag hanging out of his overalls; mechanics are now more like computer engineers than anything else. We devote a lot of time to educate ourselves on new products and processes in order to be in the best position to continue to serve our customers. We recognize that includes being the leading experts in our industry.

EK: What is the best way for interested customers to find out more?

Joe: Please visit our website, where you can request an appointment and shop for tires without leaving your couch. If you would prefer speaking with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to call one of our shops. We want customers to be able to reach us in the most convenient way for them. With roomy waiting areas – both inside and outside – and a separate play space if you need to keep the kids occupied, your comfort is important to us. Our policy is to contact customers with any questions, issues, and pick up times rather than wait for you to call us. Let us know how we can help you.

Founded by Joe and Jane Matlock in 1953 as a Lenoir City Esso Service Station, the business originally served as a gas station for vehicles traveling on what was then the main thoroughfare through the state: Highway 70.

In 1960, the newly built interstate changed the traffic flow and forced Joe to update his business model. He opened a tire recapping shop, then added new tires to his retail and eventually entered into more maintenance and repair. Joe’s son, Jimmy, started working in the business “as soon as he was old enough to hold a broom” according to his mother, Jane.

In 1982, Joe passed away of a heart attack, leaving a 23 year old Jimmy to run the business. Through hard work and a tremendous group of employees, Jimmy proceeded with opening a second location in Concord (now known as Farragut).

Now with shops in Lenoir City, Farragut, Athens, Maryville, and Hardin Valley, Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair is celebrating their 70 year anniversary.

Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair
Knoxville/Farragut 865-351-2656
Hardin Valley 865-276-6840
Lenoir City 865-986-6533
Maryville 865-238-0127
Athens 423-744-9828