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Treating 'em right

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J & L Alignment has been doing that since 1974

By Stephen Lega

They don't have a website. They don't buy a lot of advertising, but they do have something else going for them.

Instead, J & L Alignment and Tires tries to provide good service at fair prices for their customers.

"Your best advertising is to take care of your people, treat 'em fair and treat 'em right on prices," said James Hamilton, the J in J & L.

Apparently, many people - many families, even - believe that J & L does just that. In recognition of their decades of service, Marion County Farm Bureau presented J & L Alignment with its 2009 Service to Agriculture Award.

Lawrence Hamilton said they have been in business for 36 years, including two years at their present location on E. M. L. King Avenue.

"At first I couldn't understand why they, Farm Bureau, even picked us," Lawrence said. "I guess we deal farm tires some."

According to their customers, J & L does more than just some work on farm tires.

"They're just always friendly," said Stevie Browning, 55, one of several long-time J & L customers. "They'll bend over backwards to help you out."

The Hamiltons grew up on a farm near Loretto, which may explain why they'll do whatever they can to help, and why they understand when a farmer needs something done quickly.

"Most of the older farmers still go out there and get tires fixed," Browning said. "They know they'll fix 'em right."

Merriell Mattingly has been a J & L customer for 25 years. According to him, they treat all their customers to the same service, regardless of whether that customer is getting a brake job, an alignment or ordering a set of tires.

"I have observed how hard they work providing reliable, efficient, knowledgeable and affordable service to the public," Mattingly said.

On the issue of price, Browning said J & L never over charges.

"If anything, they undercharge," he said.

On the night of the Farm Bureau dinner, Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly presented the award to J & L.

Judge Mattingly noted that James and his uncle Frank first went into business in 1960 when they opened Hamilton Tire and Recap. In 1974, James and Lawrence opened J & L.

Lawrence pointed out that the need for recapping decreased greatly with the introduction of radial tires.

Judge Mattingly said J & L stays busy, yet they do what they can to accommodate their customers, whether it's getting them in by the end of the week or providing a loaner tire until they can do the needed work.

Maybe that's why James can say they have families that have been coming to them for four generations.

The brothers are appreciative of the award, and Lawrence went so far as to call it a "privilege" to receive it.

"They were more than deserving," Browning said. "They couldn't give it to anybody any better."