Re-tiring after 30 years in F’ville: Veteran retailer closes

Donald Thomas in front of the business he has operated for three decades in Fayetteville. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The Fayette Tire Co., a business landmark at South Glynn Street and Grady Avenue in Fayetteville, has shut its doors after 30 years. And for lifelong Fayetteville resident and soon-to-be retiree Donald Thomas, three decades at the same location has been a treasure.

Thomas, 69, began his work around vehicles at age 15 when he was hired to change tires. Thomas said he was later approached by Ronald Landrum, at that point a customer at the store, about operating his own business.

“He told me he believed I could run a tire store,” Thomas said with a chuckle outside his store last week. His thoughts were not lost on Landrum, his business partner for these 30 years. “I was afraid to do it at first, but I had a family to feed. The opportunity presented itself and I’ve been here in the same location for 30 years.”

So after a 30-year run Thomas has decided to close the business. Formal operations have already ceased. Thomas said he is currently moving out the remaining inventory and speaking with businesses potentially interested in the shop on South Glynn Street.

Thomas said a recent fall and the resulting hospitalization prompted him to close the business.

“The fall got to be a little more than I wanted to handle,” the 69-year-old said with another chuckle. “And we haven’t had a vacation in eight to 10 years.”

Looking back over the years, Thomas said he was appreciative of the employees and customers who made his business a successful landmark in Fayetteville.

“I’m an hands-on person and I love the work. I’ve had good workers and I’m proud of my customers. So many people have called or stopped by to visit when they heard I was closing,” Thomas explained. “We’ve been fortunate to have had so many good customers.”

Thomas also looked back over the past 30 years, noting some of the ways Fayetteville has changed.

“When the business started there was nothing across (Glynn Street). And when I was a kid (Ga. Highway) 85 and (Ga. Highway) 54 were about the only paved streets around here. (Ga. Highway) 92 was dirt, and I used to get stuck over there a couple of times a week,” Thomas noted. “About the only place to eat was Willy Eason’s downtown, where you could get a hamburger or a hot dog with Brunswick stew on it and play pool in the back.”

Looking at both the past and the future, Thomas reflected on what made the business work and the time he will have now to do other things.

“I always said that if I could make it the first year, I could make it. I wanted to treat people right so they wouldn’t go anywhere else,” Thomas said. “I’ve enjoyed it and I feel like now’s the time to slow down a little.”

jpopeye
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Joined: 10/21/2005
Best wishes Mr Thomas

Congratulations on a great career!