By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
James Johannes started rebuilding cars and selling them at age 14. He continued to work on cars while he was in college. He got into auto salvage because he had leftover parts.
Jim Johannes retired a few years ago, but got bored after three years, said Donna Schuette, his daughter and co-owner of Johannes Auto Sales Inc. of Jackson, Mo.
“He’s usually the first one in the door at 5 a.m.,” Schuette said. Her son also works for the business.
Johannes Auto no longer does body work. It sells and dismantles wrecked cars and sells used parts throughout Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, western Kentucky and northern Arkansas. As a Certified Automotive Recycler through the Automotive Recyclers Association, it follows ARA standards for business practices, environmental compliance and safety.
“We’re not a junkyard,” Schuette said. “We have a nice showroom where women can feel comfortable coming in and asking for parts.” In 1980, the 53-year-old business won first place in a contest for the most beautiful salvage yard from the Automotive Recycler and Dismantlers Association, the precursor to ARA.
Johannes Auto has five acres on one side of East Jackson Boulevard, where the showroom, dismantling shop, crusher and warehouses are located. Another 16-acre lot on the other side of the road is used to store vehicles. The company works to keep everything as neat as possible, Schuette said.
Johannes Auto’s website lists its computerized inventory so customers can search for a part. The company is part of a nationwide network of recyclers that put their inventory online. But the business doesn’t take orders online. Vehicles have become too complex, Schuette explains. Even the same model car may have variations that make a difference in what part will fit.
“We don’t want someone to order something at 2 a.m., and there’s questions we need to ask them” before Johannes can fulfill the order, Schuette said. Retail customers and shops call in their orders or walk into the showroom, she said.
Most of Johannes’ eight non-family employees are long-timers who like the family atmosphere, Schuette said. “We stress that family comes first,” she said.
Johannes ships orders by UPS, Federal Express and freight lines. It also contracts with a delivery company to provide parts to customers within a 100-mile radius of Johannes Auto.
Schuette said her primary focus is customer service, which she learned about as she grew up and worked with her parents. Her office door is open to the customer counter, and if an employee isn’t providing the right type of service, she addresses the situation immediately, she said.
“We want to provide a good quality part that (customers) can trust,” Schuette said. Every part has at least a 30-day warranty. An engine with less than 100,000 miles on it has a six-month, 12,000-mile warranty. Older engines have a 90-day warranty. Some smaller parts have a lifetime warranty if the customer keeps the receipt. The warranty doesn’t cove labor because Johannes doesn’t control that.
“We’ve been here in this exact spot for 53 years,” Schuette said. “People have come to trust that we’ll stand behind our parts. We do everything we can to be sure that the part is in top condition before we sell it.”
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. Johannes Auto Sales Inc. has applied for the Cape Girardeau Region TORCH Awards.