By Tara Dowden
The Robertson men have been putting cars together “since the beginning of cars.” Tomʼs Automotive Service Center is a complete car and truck repair service specializing in mechanical and collision repair. They have served the Tupelo area since 1952, through three generations of Robertson men: Tom, Jeff, and Jay. Their legacy and love for mechanics, engineering, and creativity began with Jay’s great-grandfather, who used a horse and buggy to unload the crates of Sears’ catalog cars that were delivered to Tupelo by train. He hauled the car parts to his mechanics shop located in the back of his Broadway home and then assembled some of the first cars.
Growing up with a love for cars, Tom opened Tomʼs Automotive Center in 1952.
In 1988, Jeff Robertson, Sr., took over the family business. Jay took on the business in 2011 after his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had been working alongside his father since 1994. Jay says his father instilled in him a “strong work ethic, a commitment to helping people in need, and the conviction of running a business based on good character and biblical principals.” His father and grandfather also left a reputation of honesty, integrity, and fairness, in which “right was right” and “the truth was the truth.”
Tomʼs Automotive is still very much a family business as Jay keeps his wife,Hope, and their three children—Ty, Cooper, and Olivia—close by his side. Jay explains, “Hope is the hub of my business, running all accounting and parts purchasing.” “We couldn’t make it without her.” Jay and Hope have proven to be an amazing team at work and home, especially when it comes to taking care of their autistic son, Ty. Jay’s advice to other dads whose children may face a similar diagnosis is, “Live life and don’t think your life is over.” Jay says, “Ty loves music, sports, being active, reading, writing and he is joy to be around.” Ty has grown to enjoy one of Jay’s more recent hobbies as well—storm chasing.
Jay attended a storm spotter training in 2002, which sparked a passion for storm chasing and led to a second career. He is now a member of North Mississippi Storm Chasers, with its own storm-chasing vehicle. He has helped create Mississippi Weather Media, a fully operational weather channel with a complete weather studio.
Preparing local communities with upcoming weather events, along with helping serve orphans in Nepal through New Beginnings Adoptions, have become two strong passions for Jay, his family, and Tomʼs Automotive. Jay feels blessed to be a part of generations of hardworking, honest men. He is thankful for the years of working alongside a godly father who taught him that owning a business is never “just about business,” but about your “faith and personal character.”
Visit Tomʼs Automotive 317 Magazine Street in Tupelo. Stay updated on local weather @mswxmedia. Partner with Mercy Nepal at www.NewBeginningsAdoptions.org.