Couple purchases 51 Automotive, now known as J&L Tire and Auto

Published 4:00 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Fifty-One Automotive was taken over by Leann Roberts and her husband Josh Roberts on March 1, 2023 and was changed to J&L Tire and Auto. Located in the Firestone building on US51 by the Brookhaven Police Department, John said he believes they are the sixth owner of a tire shop at the location. 

Employee Mike Moore has worked at the shop for 30 years through several of those ownership changes. He has helped the transition go smoothly, Leann said. She is a native of Bogue Chitto and worked for several years in Brookhaven. 

Her husband John grew up in Summitt and works in electrical all over Mississippi and Louisiana. Leann said she is the one usually at the shop and started working there in January to learn as much as she could from the previous owners before they took over the business. 

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“I catch on pretty quick. I have enjoyed it so far. I’m a talker and I can conversate with customers. It is enjoyable to me,” she said. “I love working with the guys in the back. They all stayed with us and I have learned a lot from the previous owners before they left. I had a month to learn and still learn something new every day.” 

Leann has previously worked in a bank and as a building administrator. At one point, she was making a two hour drive to Hattiesburg and back two or three days a week to work as a building administrator. She chose to come home for a little bit before she and her husband ventured into purchasing the tire shop. 

John said the Lord opened up the doors for them to purchase the shop and wants to see what they can do with it. He said his wife Leann and he wanted to be in Brookhaven because it was a growing town. 

“It fell in our laps. It was offered to us by the previous owners a few years ago,” John said. “We weren’t sure at first. It took a few years. Tires are one of those things everyone needs. They will need tires, brakes and oil changes. I consulted with some different people I knew in the business. I got their feedback and it is one of those things you can see others do well.” 

Customer service is at the forefront of their business plan. If a customer can get in and out quickly and be satisfied with their visit it will go a long way. Leann said she has already seen a few repeat customers since she started training at the shop and when they first took it over in March. 

J&L’s biggest challenge is simply the name change. John said it throws some people through a loop because people have always known it as 51 Automotive. They do plan to keep the Firestone sign outfront and will be open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

His hope is they are able to focus on fleet vehicles and help people get in and out with oil changes while they are on their lunch break. 

“We want to compete with the quick lane oil change places,” John said. “We also will offer so much more. I think having Leann will make it feel comfortable for other women and bring in more business. Our long term goal is to make this a successful business and keep it going. I hope this will be a retirement thing for me and I can come up here and run a tire shop. 

Leann said she has learned many things this year at the shop. One mechanical lesson really stood out to her the most. 

“The thing I remember the most is you could need your brake pads changed but not new rotors but if you need new rotors you are going to need new brake pads,” Leann said. Everyday I learn something new.”