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
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
(Story by Ben Rollins)