Matlock Tire Service and Auto Repair is making a long-awaited expansion into Hardin Valley.
Owner Jimmy Matlock recently announced the company will add its fifth brick-and-mortar store, which will be located along Hardin Valley Road later this year, and expects it will open before the end of 2019.
The move is a culmination of nearly a decade of careful evaluation, as Matlock, along with his older son, Joe, have been following the exponential growth in that community.
“We started looking at Hardin Valley about eight years ago — just driving up and down the road,” said Joe, among the third generation of the family business begun by his grandfather, Joe (for whom he was named) in Lenoir City in 1953. “Originally, we thought we might build on the east side of Pellissippi, but then we started watching the schools and housing just explode in the area.”
From that growth a new customer base began rising, and the Matlocks saw these new clients driving either 6 miles to the Lenoir City location or the 4.5 miles to the Farragut site.
“This new location just seemed to be a natural step for us,” Joe said. “It will put us closer to our customers and also be able to reach the ones who maybe aren’t familiar with us yet.”
It also was a natural extension of the growth of the Farragut store, which Jimmy said has expanded three times over the last 20 years, and is currently the single largest independent tire service and auto repair store in Knox County.
“We were to the point there where we either expanded that store again or make another location, and here we are,” Jimmy said.
Currently, the company is planning an Aug. 3 celebration on the Hardin Valley site, Joe said.
“We will be celebrating with our families, our employees and their families,” he added, estimating anywhere from 150 to 180 would be in attendance from all four current locations, including Maryville and Athens. “We are planning a festival, lots of food, a massive tent and things for the kids to do.”
Joe said that day will be a celebration, but not an official ground-breaking.
“We will shovel dirt later at the site itself,” he said. “We hope to start that in early September and get the permits and everything we need, then hope to be in the store and have it open by the end of the year.”
The planned 10,000-square foot building “will be identical to the one we have in Maryville,” Joe said, estimating they would be starting with at least a dozen employees to open and initially stock the store.
“We are really looking forward to being involved in the growth, and continued growth, in Hardin Valley,” he added. “Nobody here is doing auto repair. There is a real need, and we want to fill it.”