Willis Johnson tells the story of the Mather location that began to evolve and become something more.
Mather soon took off thanks in part to my younger brother Curtis’s sales skills and a lot of hard work. As I was able to buy better cars, Mather was able to stock more and better parts, including motors, transmissions, and rear ends. As this happened, the business relied less on scrap iron, which gradually went from the main revenue stream to a byproduct of the parts business.
One other big boost was that I was the first in the industry to dismantle parts, not just cars. I could get $700 for the same parts sold separately that were sold together by my competitor for $400.
Unlike other wrecking yards, I also held sales and theme days, like Western Day, to bring in customers. It was something I learned from my time in the grocery business. I would also paint the floors every year to make the shop look clean and organize the parts neatly in racks by type.
Up until then, people just thought of a wrecking yard as a bunch of wrecked cars in a field that you had to wander through to find what you wanted. But we changed that.