Jack Morris Auto Glass: A Look Through Time
The Jack Morris Auto Glass story began when Jack Morris’s father-in-law, Benjamin Franklin ("B.F.") Howard, started "the Auto Glass Company" with two partners on October 16, 1951. The first service station shop was at 663 Madison Avenue in Downtown Memphis near Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley would soon record for the first time. After his career developed, Elvis relied upon the Auto Glass Company to replace glass in his many Cadillacs and other vehicles.
When the Auto Glass Company started, Jack was a zone manager at International Harvester traveling back and forth from Memphis to Union City, Tennessee. Upon hearing the news that his boss wanted to promote him and transfer him to Chicago, Jack decided that this opportunity was a deal breaker because he loved living in Tennessee. In 1955, B.F. Howard convinced Jack to work at his small glass company, which was among the first companies in the nation to focus exclusively on auto glass. Within a year, Jack became the president and started to gain the confidence of car dealers and insurance agents. Jack soon moved the company to better quarters just down the street to 619 Madison Avenue.
"We're not big enough to afford an unhappy customer."
After B.F. Howard passed away in 1971, Jack became the sole shareholder and renamed the business Jack Morris Auto Glass to leverage the growing goodwill of his name in the community. Within a few years, he had built the company into the largest supplier of auto glass services in Tennessee. He developed his business principle, “We’re not big enough to afford an unhappy customer,” and he encouraged customers to call him personally if they were dissatisfied. He posted his office and home phone numbers near the front desk. Jack continued to grow the company in the 1970s and 80s by moving his first shop’s location to a former car dealership at 1945 Union Avenue, opening up another in East Memphis at 800 Mt. Moriah, and being one of the first companies in the nation to introduce mobile auto glass service. Jack printed his slogan, "your place or mine," on each of his mobile service trucks, and he erected his iconic analog clock signs at each of his convenient locations.
In addition to being a great business leader, Jack was a leader in many local civic organizations and national glass industry organizations. The list of Jack’s civic and auto glass industry involvement is long, but it includes serving as the president of the National Glass Dealers Association, an elected Representative in the Tennessee House of Representatives, a Gubenatorial appointment to the Southern Growth Policies Board, chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the local public utility company, and chairman of the Mid-South Fair. He was also the lay leader of his Methodist church and served on the boards of the local public hospital and the region's Methodist Hospital system. Jack's contributions of time and treasure helped build a local Methodist hospice center and a new public school of nursing to address the region's nursing shortage. Read more about Jack's service here.
Jack’s oldest son, John Morris, joined the business in 1988 after a successful career as a civil engineer and executive at the Pickering engineering firm. Early on, John’s focus was to expand the company to serve other areas while keeping the same family business values. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he grew the glass company from two shops in Memphis to eight stores covering the entire Mid-South and Middle Tennessee. In keeping with Jack's business principle, "We are not big enough to afford an unhappy customer," John's office and cell phone numbers are posted near the front desk of every location so that any customer can easily reach the owner if they are anything less than perfectly happy.
Family Owned and Operated
Over the years, many members of the Morris family have worked in this family business. In 2016, Jack’s youngest son, Paul Morris, joined the family business as president after a successful career in law and public service. Also working in the business are Jack’s son-in-law, Wayne Burkett, and Jack’s grandsons, Jeff Burkett and Buck Morris, John’s son. John continues serving the business, making sure the company’s values and culture of service stay strong. In addition to the Morris family, Jack Morris Auto Glass has many dedicated, long-time employees who are part of this family business and share the same company values. Jack Morris always taught that the best way to make sure the customers are treated right is to treat the employees right.
A Growing Company with the Same Values for Over 65 Years
In 2017, its 66th year of operation, Jack Morris Auto Glass opened its ninth and tenth locations. Today the company serves all 21 counties in West Tennessee from its stores in Memphis and Jackson; all 38 counties in Middle Tennessee from its stores in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Columbia; and 14 counties in Western Kentucky from its store in Paducah. With its daily mobile service, Jack Morris Auto Glass also serves 8 counties in Northern Mississippi; Crittenden County, Arkansas; and 9 counties in Southern Illinois.
Even though a growing company, Jack Morris Auto Glass remains rooted in its local, family business values, including Jack's founding principle that "We are not big enough to afford an unhappy customer." The company lives by the Golden Rule, treating customers the way the family owners and employees would want to be treated. The Morris family always puts doing what is right, and upholding their family reputation, above short-term profits.
Continued Community Commitment
The company and its local owners remain committed to a culture of service to their community, with continued active involvement and leadership of many local civic organizations and charities. The company annually sponsors a fundraising event with the Rotary Club to benefit the Dorothy Day House, keeping homeless families together. Current company president Paul Morris serves on the board of Regional One Health, which is the public hospital and Level 1 trauma center that serves the entire Mid-South. Paul is also a member of the Kiwanis Club and serves on the board of the Community Alliance for the Homeless. In addition, Paul served as the president of the Downtown Memphis Commission and was the Project Director over the funding, design, and construction of the Big River Crossing, a lighted bridge allowing citizens and tourists to walk or bike over the Mississippi River between Memphis and West Memphis, Arkansas. Many Jack Morris employees serve as local leaders and volunteers in their communities across the Mid-South, from Memphis to Jackson to Nashville to Paducah and many small towns and communites in between.