In the early 1940s, Vernie Drewry from Bradford started an automobile parts business in Gleason, Tennessee that grew into a chain of six stores. The store offered for many a full lineup of automotive parts, paint, brakes, belts, hydraulics, and lawnmowers.
Mr. Drewry took on a partner, Charlie Huggins, who owned one-half interest in the business. Charlie Huggins went on to become, not only the full owner of Eveready, but also the Mayor of Gleason. After a few years he sold one-third interest of the store to George Gibbs and Ellie Steele who were busy running routes and delivering parts five days a week. Charlie Huggins would make deliveries to Memphis, so there was no middle man in this business.
Mr. Huggins owned a warehouse, KT Distributors, that was located where the parking lot across from City Drug Store is now located. The business grew to encompass ten stores. He had stores in Gleason, Greenfield, Trenton, Camden, Savannah, Lexington, and Selmer, just to name a few locations:. The warehouse was stocked with goods bought directly from ACDelco.
Charlie Huggins hired on Jessie Mayo in 1970 and promised him that if he would work and learn the business he could earn himself the opportunity to buy a sixth of the store. After a year of pulling orders for George Gibbs and Ellie Steele, who were running the routes, Jessie earned himself the sixth of the store that Charlie Huggins had promised him.
A few years later George Gibbs wanted to develop a golf course, so he sold Jessie Mayo his sixth interest.
Ellie Steele bought Charlie Huggins completely out of the business and then sold Jessie Mayo another sixth interest, so that they were now half-owners in Eveready.
Jessie ran a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday route traveling to Dukedom, Latham, Dresden, and Palmersville. Ellie Steele ran the Lake County route.
Jessie Mayo bought out Ellie’s half at the time of Ellie's retirement and became full owner. The warehouse finally closed up and goods had to be bought elsewhere.
Ellie’s son, Stan, worked in the store with Jessie for many years. Jessie sold the store to Richard Muzzall, the nephew of Vernie Drewry, and Cody Muzzall in 2007, thus marking the beginning of Jessie’s retirement.
Eveready still offers a full range of automotive parts, having now served the Gleason community for over a half century.
(Story by Ben Rollins)