There’s a sign up on the wall, behind the reception counter at Adams Automotive & Towing — actually, that says “In God we trust — All else pay cash.” It’s done, of course, in humor, and the truth of the matter is that they do take cash, but also take payment by check, debit, and credit cards, AAA, and many if not most major insurance companies when someone has to be towed. And it’s always fun when the big dog — don’t know his name — meets customers at the door, and all “what’s his name” wants is a friendly petting between his ears.
Larry Adams opened Adams Automotive in April 2006, at first working in a leased storage facility. But then, he had the chance and took it to move to the property he’s been in since, 85 Redden Road, which is at the corner of U.S. 75 east service road and Redden Road. Soon afterward, he added the towing service, which has grown a fleet of seven tow trucks with a separate staff to man those constantly-available trucks.
Adams Automotive has had its basic staff of auto mechanics over these years. They, and Adams offer diesel repair, engine, brake and routine maintenance, and vehicle inspections.
Over the years, Adams said, the technology offered on the vehicles has caused him and those loyal mechanics to keep up with the times. That takes a constant update on the equipment required to repair the newer cars, and it also takes an open and inquisitive mind on everyone’s part. And Adams is committed to continuing that learning and updating policy so he’ll be in business for a while. To that extent, too, as the town grows, the property surrounding the Adams Automotive bays will allow Adams to expand with the times.
Larry Adams said he “grew up around towing my whole life, but I was open for a year before I bought my first tow truck. But it’s just sensible to keep the money in-house.”
Adams said he grew up in Anna at his grandfather’s business, B&L Auto Service, and learned how to “take parts off cars and put parts on cars. My grandpa and my dad were both into towing. My dad also had an automotive shop in Wisconsin.” Will his two sons, Tyler and Mason, become involved in the auto repair business? “No way,” Adams said.” One has graduated and the other will soon graduate from college with degrees in business. “This will be the end of it in our family,” Adams said as he answered yet another phone call from someone wanting an estimate. His wife, Lynne, has that business training and handles all the accounting for the business. She, too, is in the towing business, and the three trucks marked “Pront Tow” are her separate business, Adams said.
Adams offers a service, too, that he hopes has or will save even one life. On holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Christmas Eve, and such — all major holidays — it’s Holiday Haul time, for free towing. There are limits, Adams said. “You have to be coming from a party, or a bar or night club. And we only tow your vehicle to your home. We have several drivers standing by on those nights. If somebody makes it home safe if it keeps them from being out on the road… if I can even get one person home safely, I’ve maybe saved one life. This is one way to give back to the community.”
When the need arises, too, he knows when to step out further than usual in assisting people. For instance, one week he towed a motor home to the shop, one that had broken down on the roadway as the travelers were returning to their home up north from a trip to the Texas valley. The parts needed to make the repairs had to be shipped, and so weren’t immediately available. The couple plugged the motor home into Adams’ electricity and made themselves at home for a couple of days until the parts came in, the vehicle was repaired, and they went happily on their way. “We didn’t mind. We don’t mind. If they are stranded, we will take them to a hotel and pick them up the next day,” Adams said.
Another opportunity to exhibit real Texas Friendly happened when a vehicle, driven by the mother of two kids, broke down on the highway. As his mechanics were fixing it, Adams said he realized the woman had nothing, no money, and was struggling to get to where she was going. “She just needed the help,” he said, and then added that was one time that he tore up the ticket and let her continue on her way.
“I could have opened my repair shop anywhere, such as over in Frisco or farther to the south, and probably made more money, twice as much.”
He said he makes it a point not to mark up the parts beyond a certain top percentage, and often stays below that, he said. And even more important on his business and personal level is to keep his word.
“Honesty and a reasonable price. A man’s word is all a man has,” Adams said. “There’s no reason to be in the business unless one can have integrity and be reasonable.”
When asked what else he could talk about, Larry Adams said, “Just the great town of Van Alstyne. It’s where I live, where my kids went to school. It’s wonderful. It’s home.”
Adams Automotive repair shop is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and the towing services are available 24 hours a day. Adams stays at the shop during the day, answering the phone, meeting his customers, ordering and receiving the parts, and all the necessary chores to make the business successful. But sometimes, after hours, he takes some of the towing runs, too.
To reach Adams Automotive and Towing, call 903-482-5784. The same number applies to both divisions of the business. There is also a Facebook page with the same name, with a link to call for help, should one forget the phone number, or just ask questions.