Thursday Jan 07 2010
Hometown entrepreneur devoted to Auburn
By: Michael Kirby
Thomas “TJ” Jackson has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even as a young man. “As a kid I would go to the market and push shopping carts for people to earn a little extra money,” Jackson said. “And I always had a bank savings account. My mom started one for me when I was just a boy.” This drive has led Jackson to own and operate several businesses. For 26 years Jackson has owned TJ Enterprises, a very successful auto body repair facility in North Auburn. Jackson got into the auto business as a salesman for Placer Auto Sales in Rocklin and fell into buying autos at auction and repairing them for sale. Jackson came to Auburn in 1983, opening his first repair shop on Sacramento Street in two bays of Merv Hall’s towing yard. In 1984 TJ Enterprises was born and grew into a solid business endeavor. A move to larger 3,500-square-foot quarters soon followed. That location off Highway 49 also proved to be too small, so TJ Enterprises moved again to Locksley Lane and then again to Jackson’s present location, also on Locksley Lane. The auto body repair facility now occupies three buildings at the top of Locksley Lane. Building a solid relationship with repeat customers, area auto dealership owners and insurance companies took years but Jackson believes in this philosophy and says its practice has helped his business grow. “I just love Auburn. It’s been tough at times but a lot of nice people have helped me along the way,” he said. “I have many people in Auburn I consider my friends and mentors.” Jackson is appreciative of how the Auburn community has supported him and joined in his efforts to give back. He is the current president of the Gold Country Rotary Club, an organization he joined in 1986. He believes in living by their slogan: “Service above self.” Jackson is also a longtime member of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce and was on the ground floor of their humble beginnings with donations and leadership to the Auburn Boys & Girls Club. Jackson, now 61, was active in the local racquetball community, tearing up area courts for over 30 years and for a time was ranked No. 1 in the state A&B doubles division. Now retired from racquetball, Jackson enjoys the benefits of yoga. “It is the hardest thing I have ever done,” Jackson said. Jackson’s wife and business partner, Emma, also participates in yoga with him, sometimes three times a week. At one time she was ranked No. 4 in the state racquetball women’s open division. This summer the 49 Fire destroyed one of Jackson’s three body shop buildings off Locksley Lane, and he is just finishing up with repairs. He said he loves Auburn’s atmosphere and environment, and doesn’t regret for a minute his decision to start his business in our community. “Auburn, I’ll never leave here. I love it, and I know everybody,” he said. Jackson and his wife raised three children here and now have eight grandchildren. “Besides yoga and work I don’t do much else. With eight grandkids I don’t have any extra time,” he said.