“I’ve been messing around with old cars all my life. Dad kept an old car, and that’s where I learned to turn wrenches,” Holcomb said. “I fell in love with cars and I’ve been working with them ever since.”
Holcomb opened Tupelo Auto Body and Collision Repair in October on South Gloster Street.
He’s worked other jobs, but his love of cars and trucks has never left him.
“I worked with a company that made pipeline valves where I was a painter,” he said. “We worked with some exotic paints and heavy duty work there. I’ve also been doing auto body work for over 30 years.”
The Monroe County native worked at a couple of shops in Amory before coming to Tupelo in the late 1980s, working at a dealership before working, and eventually managing, a body shop in the city for 25 years.
“I decided to go out on my own,” he said. “I was interested in buying that shop, but things didn’t work out. But my wife, Kim, and I had been talking about opening my own shop for years---and this is it.”
Tupelo Auto Body and Collision Repair is in a familiar spot---it was the longtime home of Tupelo Auto Sales, and the building that serves as Holcomb’s office was the original TAS building that sat where Tellini’s is today.
“They brought the building from there to this spot when they bought the land,” Holcomb said.
A vehicle is one of the biggest investments a person can make, and if it becomes scratched, dented or damaged in some way, it’s not only a blow to the psyche, but oftentimes a blow to his or her finances. Holcomb realizes the situation is never easy, and having worked in the business for so long, he can easily empathize.
“I enjoy working on cars and interacting with people,” he said. “When a person comes to see me, they’ve already had a bad day. I try to make their day, their situation, as comfortable and as easy as I can. Vehicles are a big part of our lives, and it’s a big inconvenience when we’re without one.”
At his business, Holcomb works on all manner of collision repair, paintless dent removal, headlight restoration and door hinge repair. Towing services also are available.
The business also has a sterilized paint room using a state-of-the-art PPG paint system.
Holcomb said the mission statement of Tupelo Auto Body and Collision Repair perfectly explains what he’s trying to do with his shop on South Gloster Street:
“We understand your car is kind of a big deal. It’s a big machine, a big expense and it’s a big part of life as we know it. So, when we talk to you about your car, we take it pretty seriously. We believe in doing the repair right the first time. We believe one mistake is one too many. We are not OK with just OK. We believe in listening before talking, thinking before acting and showing our cards---all of them.
“We understand it may look like the car repair business, but it’s really the people business. And for us, that is a big deal.”
And with business growing, Holcomb said he’s hoping to hire some community college collision repair graduates in the near future.