End of an era
By MICAH HENRY
A long-time Alexander County business closed its doors last week after 45 years in operation, serving the automotive parts needs of the area.
Harold Mecimore, 80, and wife Carol Bumgarner Mecimore, 77, have owned and operated Mecimore’s Auto Parts since 1975. It began as a big career shift, a home-based business at their residence off what is now known as Shook Lane, south of Taylorsville. Harold, who had worked on cars in his spare time since he was a teenager, was a furniture upholsterer for Sherrill’s Furniture Company in Hickory when he was injured in 1972 in a motorcycle accident. He was on medical disability for three years. Sadly, he had just finished restoring a 1960 Corvette and had only driven it three times. Harold would not be able to drive the manual transmission car ever after, due to his injuries. However, it was kept in the family and is now owned by one of Carol’s nephews.
Because the accident had left him with leg mobility issues, Harold was unable to return to upholstery work. However, he had always worked on cars, so he shifted to that line of work full-time by setting up an auto parts business from home. After two years, the business had grown enough to urge Harold and Carol to build a separate store, on land on US 64/NC 90 West, near Carol’s mother’s home. They had to sell their lot on Lake Hickory, on which they had planned to build their home, in order to finance the store.
A specialist in carburetors, Mecimore’s Auto Parts soon became the go-to place in this area for specialty parts, including parts for antique autos and trucks — even tractors, too.
Parts for Packards, Studebakers, Model A Fords, and other unique parts line their shelves.
“They gave me my first job,” said local machine shop owner Chris Harrington. “They made me love the auto parts and car business. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Special items the shop offered included custom made hydraulic hoses. In fact, Harold was even asked to make one on the store’s final day.
Their love for cars and trucks has led to a small collection, too. Harold and Carol own a 1938 Chevy coupe street rod, a 1955 Pontiac, a 1957 Chevy, a final year Chevy El Camino Choo Choo Custom, a 1970 Chevy C10 CST pickup that Harold’s father bought new, a 1982 Corvette, and a 2012 Corvette Grand Sport convertible, among others. They once had 15 Chevys of the 1955-56-57 period.
The Mecimores’ love for Corvettes led them and other local aficionados to start the Foothills Corvette Club in 1999. Harold and Carol remain active in the club to this day.
When asked how they met, Carol recalled she met Harold at a football game. Carol was there at Taylorsville High School with another boy.
“Harold was standing there with a little curl on his forehead,” Carol said, smiling. “It was on, from then on. I was 16, he was almost 20 when we got married.” They said their vows on December 26, 1958.
Harold and Carol have two children: Kenny Mecimore and Kimberly Mecimore Pressley, and two grandsons.
Ready to retire
The couple prepares now to enter a new chapter in their life: retirement. At an age when many have been retired for a dozen years or more, Harold and Carol would like to enjoy their families and travel with their antique autos. In short, they’re ready for some fun.
To accomodate that, and sell their inventory of parts and fixtures, they have enlisted the help of auctioneers with the Swicegood Group, said Karen Hubbard, auctioneer with the group.
Throughly modern, the Swicegood Group is now helping inventory and photograph the lots which will be placed on their website for online auction in the next few weeks.
“We will lot, tag, photograph, and upload items to our digital catalog at Ready2Bid.com,” said Kyle Swicegood, auctioneer. “We will be doing regional and national advertising to attract bidders to assist the Mecimores in their retirement. We are honored they have put their trust in us for a very productive auction experience.”
Swicegood Group is a multi-state auction company that has done several lots similar to Mecimore’s Auto in Alexander and surrounding counties.
“We’re looking forward to making this a positive experience for the Mecimores as well as the public,” Swicegood stated. “We will have many bidders from other states and the Southeast region.”
How to bid
Hubbard noted that potential bidders can download the Swicegood Group app on their mobile device, register online at Ready2Bid.com, and they will be prepared to bid when the auction begins in early March. For more information, call Karen Hubbard at 828-640-8175.