‘Everything Has Fallen into Place’ for TN Couple and Their Auto Repair Shop

Stacy and Jay Vivrette have come full circle after opening their shop in early January. Photo by John McBryde

Not long after he and his wife opened an auto repair shop in Nolensville, TN, Jay Vivrette greeted a customer who seemed somewhat familiar.

He couldn’t place her right away, but the more they spoke the more he realized why he knew her, even if only vaguely.

“She came in just this morning,” Vivrette said recently at J & Company Auto Repair, the shop he and his wife, Stacy Vivrette, started working on last August and opened Jan. 2. “I didn’t recognize her, but the more I got to talking to her, I started seeing the connection. She was an old Nolensville customer. There have been a few old-time Nolensville customers who have come in, and that’s been pretty cool.”

Specifically, Vivrette was referring to repeat customers of sorts, those who had their cars and trucks serviced in the same building where J & Company is now. That was back in the 1980s and ’90s when Nolensville was still a small, sleepy burg and folks had work done on their vehicles at Thomas Brothers Auto Repair.

The small-world component of the Vivrettes’ story is that Jay operates his business in the same location where he used to work part-time while a student at Page High School in the late 1980s. It was also the spot where Jay would hang out with his best friend, Bill, son of Harry Thomas, who owned and operated Thomas Brothers with his brother, Larry, until an illness slowed Harry down and led to the closing of the business in 1997.

In the meantime, Jay Vivrette had already started a career in auto repair after graduating high school in 1990. He immediately went to work at Crown Ford in Nashville, where he handled basic duties while learning the ropes of automobile maintenance.

“When I went through high school, I had no intention of doing this,” Vivrette said of working as a mechanic. “I was going to go to college and be an engineer. But I got a job at Crown Ford,” and it took off from there.

He carried that early experience to Crutcher’s Auto Repair in Franklin, and later put in 15 years at Christian Brothers in Franklin. Vivrette returned to Crutcher in 2013 and served as general manager until fate came calling in the form of Melissa Thomas, widow of Harry Thomas. She wanted to see the Vivrettes bring back the building that once housed Thomas Brothers Auto Repair and operate it going forward.

“Jay was content at Crutcher's and had intentions on finishing out his career there, and the idea of having a shop of his own at 50 years old seemed silly,” Stacy said. “He came home [from visiting with Melissa and hearing her offer for renting the building] and did some soul searching. We prayed about it and we agreed that we would give it our best shot.

“We began renovating the building in August and set the wheels in motion to move full steam ahead, and from that moment it was just like this was what we were supposed to do all along. Everything has fallen into place.”

As the Vivrettes worked on getting the building ready and doing all the paperwork necessary to launch a business, they also studied on a name for the place. J & Company makes perfect sense, according to Stacy.

“Jay wouldn’t be where he is today had he not surrounded himself with good people,” she said, pointing out the mentors and bosses he had at auto repair shops, suppliers he came to know through the years, and the opportunity that came from Melissa Thomas. “I’ve told Jay you’re here because of the company you keep. We chose to honor the people that put us in the position by naming it J & Company. We are here because of them.”

We thank the Williamson Herald for reprint permission.

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