Where did you come up with the name Old Number Eleven?
If you really want to know...
Old Number Eleven is a name that I chose based on the road that ran through the middle of my hometown in rural East Tennessee. For over a century, 11W was the primary road used to get from New York to Atlanta. Eventually this tiny town had to give way to progress. A four lane road was built in 1983 that would bypass my grandparents’ service station. When the new road was built, our street became “Old 11W.”
My grandparents’ Texaco service station was the hub of this tiny town. It was the kind of place where you could come in and grab a few necessities while someone would be out pumping your gas, washing your windows, checking your oil and making sure your tires were at the correct pressure. My grandparents ran this store for forty-two years. As a child, I could be found outside on the bench whittling a piece of cedar with my grandfather’s pocket knife while waiting for the next car to drive up and ring the bell.
In those days, you could come in and purchase things on credit. If you got your oil changed, needed a few groceries or gas, my grandparents would write the cost of those things on a small ticket and file it under your last name. You paid them when you had the money. In over 40 years of doing business this way, there were only two instances where the debt was not repaid. Their business was based on mutual trust and respect as well as a genuine desire to help others.
I still remember my grandfather getting out of bed after hours to help a desperate traveler change his tire on his journey to New York. I saw my grandmother feed many hungry families that were down on their luck without charging them a cent. To my grandparents, running a gas station was much more than just selling people gas and goods. They were honest and hard working people that genuinely wanted to help you if they knew you were in a bad spot.
I did not know it then, but my years helping out at the service station taught me a lot about business. Because of my upbringing, I still believe in treating people the way you would like to be treated. I work hard to build life-long relationships with my clients, to be dependable and give back to my community. As a business owner in the fast-paced world of design, I pride myself on keeping up with the latest software and tech. However, the way I do business will always be grounded in the small-town values of the place I grew up--Mooresburg, Tennessee.