David Gray’s passion for the automotive business began as a youngster working odd jobs and helping clean and prepare cars for sale at his grandfather’s used car dealership.
During his high school years, he swept floors at a Wetumpka automotive shop. In technical college, he studied automobile technology while working full time. During his journey to becoming an automotive technician, he met and began to be mentored by R.O. Griggs. R.O. had been fixing cars since he was 12, learning from his father. “David worked under me for a year,” he said. David eventually moved into management. “Then, he decided he wanted to go into the retail end of it,” R.O. said.
In 1998, at the age of 22, David opened his own business in a vacant tire store in Wetumpka. His friend and mentor, R.O., an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master certified automotive technician, joined the team.
Gray’s Tire & Service Center marked its 20th year in business in March. It has four locations – two in Wetumpka and one each in Montgomery and Auburn. A Prattville location is scheduled to open in 2019.
“As the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know, until they know that you care. We care about what we do.”
The business employs more than 35, including R.O. “We built our business on our employee relations.” said David. “I don’t see R.O. every day like I used to for 15 years, but … I always hope that I listen and take what he has to say, because I have the utmost respect for him.”
R.O said he strives to carry customer service to the extreme. “David provides us with the tools and equipment we need to do that.”
Story and photo by Nancy King Dennis