ASHEVILLE, N.C.—When Patti and Bob Davis opened Patti’s Towing and U-Haul Dealership in 1968, they were the first and only U-Haul representative in Asheville. A lot has changed over the last few decades, including their name, now Davis Automotive & Towing, but the Davis family’s commitment to U-Haul and its customers has never wavered.
“We started in 1967 as Davis American Service Station, and then added Patti’s Gulf Station,” Patti Davis explained. “We then combined the two into Patti’s Towing, and our friend Max Lassiter, who was a U-Haul fieldman (area field manager), suggested we add U-Haul rentals. We figured renting U-Haul equipment would provide some extra income.
“We don’t sell gasoline anymore,” she added, “but U-Haul has been with us all along and it’s been a tremendously positive experience.”
All in the family
Not only did the U-Haul Dealership add a second source of revenue for the business, it allowed Davis to work side by side with her husband, Bob, until he passed away in 2006.
“I told him I wanted to work with him because I never saw him,” she related. “It was great working together. A lot of people say it’s too hard to spend 24 hours a day together, but it wasn’t hard for us.”
Bob handled the towing and repair side of the business, while Patti’s specialty was always the U-Haul aspect. While working side by side, they always had several helping hands—their four children.
“Our kids all grew up helping out at the dealership, hooking up trailers and stuff like that,” Davis reminisced.
Their son Ronnie took over the towing and repair side of the business when Bob passed away, and he now handles most of the U-Haul business as well.
Keeping them coming
In addition to working with her own children, Davis served several generations of families in her community.
“Treat people right and they’ll come back,” Davis proclaimed. “And so will their children. We even have people come in and say their grandparents rented from us years ago. That means I’m getting old,” she joked.
“One of my customers lives about 30 miles away,” Davis added, “and has to pass at least four other U-Haul Dealers to get to me, but we’ve been doing business for 15 years because he knows I’ll take care of his needs.”
She also believes she has sustained success as a U-Haul Dealer by knowing how to be the best part of a customer’s day.
“Patti’s Towing has provided great service to the people of Asheville for a long time,” stated Area Field Manager Jerry Brown of U-Haul Company of Western North Carolina. “Their customer service is exceptional, and I always love listening to their old stories about the early days of U-Haul.”
Although her son has stepped in to run the business now, Davis enjoyed her 40 years as a U-Haul Dealer.
“In the moving business, you’ve got to enjoy dealing with people, and I always have,” Davis declared. “Plus, U-Haul has always treated me right, and I respect that.”
As U-Haul celebrates 70 years of moving America, we thank Patti and her entire family for their loyalty to U-Haul Company.