By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The very first winner of the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the Month Spotlight” for the year 2012 is Jimmie’s Firestone Service Center, located at the junction of I-10 Exit 258 and State Road 53, south of Madison.
Cindy Vees, Director of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, presented the owners of Jimmie’s Firestone with a congratulatory green plant and balloon arrangement, compliments of Madison Florist, a certificate from the Chamber and a sign they can display outside the business for the month of January.
The crew at Jimmie’s Firestone wishes everyone “Happy Holidays and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2012,” as they start their own new year on a celebratory note with their “Business of the Month Spotlight” award.
In the words of Greg Vickers, employee of Jimmie’s Firestone:
“Jimmie’s Firestone Service Center is celebrating the Business of the Month Spotlight for the outstanding efforts from our service technicians and emergency service providers, for helping our customers smile when they have needed it the most. The compassionate strength we all share is to brighten our customers’ day or night.
“Emergency service is offered 24/7 to those in need for Madison, Jefferson, Taylor, Suwannee, Hamilton and Hamilton Counties. Jimmie’s firestone Service is also offered for out of state or out of region service.
“Many occasions, we meet people traveling through Madison County in need of service to get to their destination. After our services are rendered, sometimes weeks later, we will receive thank you cards and letters where the customer will congratulate us and show appreciation for the respect and support they are given. One customer in particular, an astronaut, mailed a signed picture of himself dressed in his space gear, writing on the photogragh, ‘Thanks for the excellent service!’
“In every situation at hand, the service providers will look to be aware, and observe the situation at hand to best extend the courtesy needed while assisting the customer in the best way possible.
“On September 11, 1984, Jimmie’s Firestone Service center opened their doors for service to Madison County with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Jimmy and Latrelle Ragans, the owners of the emergency roadside and shop service had already been operating the business for six years before the ribbon cutting, out of their Independent Gas and Diesel fueling station, known as Jimmie’s Truck Stop, at Interstate 10 – which was exit 37 at the time – but is presently known today as Exit 258 and State Road 53 South of Madison.
“Jimmie’s Firestone has been associated with AAA for 34 years ; Madison County and the surrounding counties are served through this auto club. However, we can also handle most other auto club emergency service members as well.
“Services we provided 34 years ago are still provided today in 2012. We offer heavy, medium and light duty mechanical, emergency towing and recovery service. The equipment and license requirement have become more advanced, and Jimmie’s Firestone continues to grow, offering great service by trained and certified personnel. We thank everyone for allowing us to provide services that are appreciated and recognized today as the “Business of the Month in Madison, and invite everyone to celebrate with us for a successful 34 years of excellence in emergency service and repair. If you are in need of towing, lock-out service, tire change mechanical repair and service…remember Jimmie’s Firestone ‘We Can Handle it!’
“Also, find us on Facebook and become a friend.
“Happy New Year! 24 Hour Service! (850) 973-8546!” – Greg Vickers
Jimmie’s Firestone has grown over the years to a three truck operation that employs 16 other people besides Jimmie and Latrelle, including Donnie Ragans, Lisa Ragans, Robin Bell, Cindy Abbott, Sandy Nichols, Steve Schultz, Greg Vickers, Von Thompkins, Chad Neihanke, Donals Voss (AKA “Gramps” – parts man), Donald Gibson (paint and body), Frank Premorel, Jason Law, Arthur Brown, Derrick Pullens and Jimmy Monson.
They also employ one dog, a weimaraner named Julie. As Greg Vickers explains, “fire departments have a fire dog, and we have a wrecker dog!”