No. 882



You have heard the old story about what happens when life hands you a lemon. You make lemonade, right? A good example is a very successful business here in our community. Linn’s Auto has bought and sold more than 4,000 vehicles per year for the past several years. The business is owned by Danny and Linda Linn and their two daughters, Susan McCoy and Christy Priester, and employs 20 people. Both managers have been with Linn’s for more than 26 years and there are several other long-term employees. Linda has served as a charter member of our Conway Bookcase Project Committee, and is still serving.
For the past 47 years, they have been involved in various automotive-related businesses. However here is what happens when you have all or most of your eggs in one basket. For the past 34 years, their company has had a contract with a major insurance company to purchase all the automobiles that were totaled in accidents over the state. Some of the vehicles were sold to salvage businesses for parts, some were sold to rebuilders and some were exported. Due to the size of the contract and the size of land available, their business was built around this one company. But lo, as they always do, things changed within this insurance company and they lost their contract.
With these developments, the Linns were faced with a dilemma. Sometimes what is needed, in addition to faith and courage, is some “old-fashioned American ingenuity.” They had an opportunity to rent the building, close their doors and just walk away. They offered to help their employees find another job, but God had other plans.
Both Susie and Christy -- as well as Roger Riggs and Pete Deden -- had pretty well grown up in the business and in that building, and wanted an opportunity to start a new business. They all knew that the one thing they were good at was customer service, so with the help of their banker, Johnny Adams of First Security, Oak Street Auto was formed. Within a few weeks, the company was up and running and has more than 50 certified pre-owned vehicles. It is located next to Linn’s on Oak Street on Highway 64 in east Conway. A service center is being remodeled in the Linn’s building and a new building is being planned. Additionally, two other businesses will open in late September or early October. They are U-Pull-It of Conway, where customers can pull their own automotive parts at a substantial savings, and a metal recycling business. Most of the jobs that were at Linn’s have been moved to other businesses and they hope that there will be other jobs added
There are some things that have made this transition possible. First is the fact that we have a progressive, fast-growing community; a robust economy with an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent; and a highly literate, well-trained work force. They will be adding more employees over time, in addition to providing secure jobs for their long-time employees.
Next, which may be the most important of all, Danny and Linda and their children are great corporate citizens who have been “giving back” for most of the time they have been in business. I met Linda one night about 15 years ago at a local real estate office. The occasion was to make calls to residents to ask them to vote for a local initiative supported by our chamber of commerce that would be beneficial to our community.
Honesty and integrity is always the best policy and doing good always comes back, especially when you combine it with some good “ole-fashioned American ingenuity.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)