Since my father was Sales Manager for National Battery Co., I could buy batteries at warehouse distribution prices, which averaged about $6.00 per 6-volt battery.
I made a customer list from my home telephone directory. From that list, I picked the accounts I wanted to approach. I then surveyed the accounts by driving by them on Saturday afternoons with my girlfriend, who later became my wife of 44 years until her passing. I could determine the owner’s name (usually from the sign outside). Frequently, with good observation, I could determine the amount of inventory they had in stock. In order to conserve operating costs, invoices and sales pads were not printed, but rubber stamped instead. I initiated a program (not used in automotive business at that time), to sell batteries on consignment.
This program was the beginning of English Bros. Approximately one year later, I had two battery trucks serving Northeast and North Central Texas, all developed on consignment. In addition, I started selling service station equipment (from catalogues) such as; jacks, lifts, lube equipment, air compressors, etc. By 1949 my father joined me in my company, where he was in charge of the Dallas Metroplex area. By the latter part of 1947, I rented a building on Gaston Avenue in Dallas, Texas.
A friend of my father (was a manufacture’s representative for various automotive lines), came into the store and left a few boxes of paint for us to determine the quality of the material before he consented to represent the line. A few days later, I smashed my thumb and thought to myself, “There’s got to be a better way to make a living (the gross profit was 25%)”. Furthermore, I had to travel out of town a couple days every week and leave my wife and daughter alone.