Tewksbury Trio Invest In Hometown Again With Opening Of U-Save Auto
Jul 04, 2014 12:25PM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Ken Mackey, outside U-Save Auto Sales, 2195 Main St., Tewksbury.
Gallery: Ken Mackey, U-Save Rental [7 Images] Click any image to expand.
Three local businessmen have put their money where their mouths are by opening not one, but two, businesses here in Tewksbury.
In April, Ken Mackey and business partners Gerry Goodwin and Don Coffin opened U-Save Auto Sales at 2195 Main St. on the south side of town. U-Save offers a variety of used cars for sale, from $1,000 - $25,000. But most are in the $5,000-$10,000 price range, according to Mackey.
The facility also has a full repair shop in the back to service the cars they sell.
For the trio of Tewksbury men, this is their fourth business venture as a team. In 1997, they opened a U-Save Car Rental franchise in Lowell, a business they still run. Two years ago, they ventured into the world of food service when the opened an Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt franchise in Tewksbury. That led to a second Orange Leaf, opened last year in Acton.
"I don't think we envisioned (owning four businesses) when we started out," said Mackey, with a smile. "We just kept our options open and stayed open to possibilities."
One such opportunity presented itself when Mackey, who lives in South Tewksbury, noticed the fewer and fewer cars in the lot of Wally's Auto World, which had occupied the 2195 Main St. location for three years. It was clear, the business was on its way out.
Mackey talked to his partners and they agreed to approach the property owner about leasing the location. They moved in in March and opened for business a month later.
Originally, the plan was to have another U-Save Car Rental location on the site, as well as the car sales. But Mackey hit a small snag along the way.
"This property isn't zoned for a car rental business," he explained. "We can sell cars but we can't rent them. So we had to request a zoning change and have it approved at the Town Meeting."
That approval came from voters in May. Now Mackey is just waiting for the Special Permit from the town. Once he has that in hand, U-Save will join Enterprise as the only two car rental facilities in Tewksbury.
U-Save is a national car rental chain based in Mississippi, with nearly 300 locations around the country.
Mackey said it's important to his partners and him to being doing business in their hometown. Orange Leaf has been very active with local groups and organizations and he said U-Save will be no different.
"We're going to be looking to be more involved with the community and with local events," he said, adding that he was also looking to work closely with other Tewksbury business. "The more you can be involved in the community and the more you can give back to the community, the better it is. And the more business you can do locally, the better it is for the community."
Mackey and Coffin are very involved with the two U-Save businesses and can often be seen at either the Lowell or Tewksbury location. The partners don't get into the two Orange Leaf locations as often as they would like but several cameras in each shop cameras allow them to keep an eye on the operations via live streaming video.
Mackey admitted being the owner of four businesses and having to delegate responsibility is very different than being an "one-site" proprietor of one business.
"Oh, it's very different. When it was just Lowell, I was involved with every aspect of the business," he said. "And I knew every customer that walked in and had a good idea what they would need.
"Now, I go into Lowell and I have no idea what's going on," he added with a chuckle.
Mackey said that the U-Save Car Rental location in Lowell has a fleet of around 100 cars. He expects a fleet of 40-50 in Tewksbury, once they get the green light to start renting.
You can check out the cars available for purchase at U-Save Auto Sales by checking out their web site www.buyusavecars.com.