Southern Dixie nominated for award

Southern Dixie Auto Repair is a finalist for the 2016 Alabama Small Business of the Year award. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

Southern Dixie Auto Repair is a finalist for the 2016 Alabama Small Business of the Year award. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

Southern Dixie Auto Repair’s hard work is being recognized, as the business along Highway 31 in Clanton has been nominated for the honor of Alabama small business of the year.

The nomination came from the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the winners will be selected during a lunch event on Friday at the Harbert Center in Birmingham.

It is the inaugural awards program and is presented by a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama.

Finalists were chosen from four categories, with Southern Dixie representing an emerging business that has been open fewer than five years.

Jeff Melton and his wife Melinda are owners of the business and are gracious to be nominated for such an award.

Melton retired after 34 years at Alabama Power, but quickly became bored with the retirement lifestyle.

“You can only do so much hunting and fishing,” Melton said.

Melton has been married to his wife Melinda for 36 years and credits her for supporting his efforts along the way.

A foosball table and prize wheel is located in the lobby of Southern Dixie.

A foosball table and prize wheel is located in the lobby of Southern Dixie.

“My wife makes a big difference and she puts up with a lot,” Melton said.

One of the first sights noticed when walking in the entrance of Southern Dixie is a foosball table and spinning wheel.

According to Melton, the foosball table is to help customers pass the time waiting for their vehicles to be serviced, while one customer each week is selected to spin the wheel of prizes that range from a free oil change to a cash gift.

When Melton bought the shop, it specialized in tires. Now a variety of services are offered within the eight-bay mechanic shop, including a 24-hour towing service.

Southern Dixie has been there to provide service for both locals and those out of town that encounter a problem driving along I-65.

“Anytime I get a call, I’ll be there,” Melton said. “That’s just the way we operate. If you take care of people, they will come back.”

The business’ reputation is evident by the high remarks and ratings that it gets online from customers.

“It’s a very competitive business, but we’ve found a way to grow,” Melton said. “It’s all about surrounding yourself with smart people and putting them in the right places.”

 

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