J’s Mobility Unlimited
by Susan Marquez
In 1977, James Hunt bought land in Flowood and started an auto mechanic business with his partner, Jerry Moulder. Surrounded by a stand of shade trees, J & J Auto was the place people would take their cars when in need of repair. As automobiles became more sophisticated with electrical systems, keeping up with the industry became expensive. “They were buying a new $5000 computer system every couple of years to do diagnostics,” says Alex Hunt, son of James Hunt.
The mechanic business was the seed that grew into what the business is today. The shop began doing modifications to vehicles to satisfy the transportation needs of mobility-restricted individuals in 1986. When a man who rented a small building on the property retired, it opened up the opportunity to expand that business. J’s Mobility Unlimited was formed in 1992.
Both James and Jerry are retired today, and Alex runs the company. “I practically grew up here,” he says. “I have been coming here with my dad since I was in kindergarten. I know every inch of this business. I owe a lot to both my dad and Jerry. Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.” Alex says that James still comes in a couple of times a week.
The work done at the shop makes it possible for mobility-restricted individuals to be more independent. “We mostly cater to veterans,” Alex explains. “Most served in Vietnam. We work with the Veterans Administration.” The company also works with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. “We aren’t limited to veterans. Our clientele varies. It’s an opportunity for us to give individuals with a variety of restrictions the independence to travel about freely.”
The work is very rewarding, according to Alex. “From time to time we work with rehab specialists. We do anything that has to do with driving.” It may be the individual who does the driving, or a caregiver scenario where a person is tasked with loading, driving and unloading someone else. “Everything we do is very individualized. We take into consideration the person’s height and weight, and whether they are in a power wheelchair or manual wheelchair. We also provide our expertise in selecting the right vehicle to purchase for each situation. We are sensitive to the needs and requirements of our customers to create custom solutions of what may appear to be the most challenging of circumstances.”
J’s Mobility Unlimited can modify almost any vehicle, depending on what the goals are, from transporting a wheelchair, transporting a family member in a wheelchair, or even driving from a wheelchair. They have National Mobility Equipment Dealership Association-certified technicians to install hand controls, left foot gas pedals, digital driving equipment, wheelchair lifts, tie-downs, and most other adaptive vehicle modifications.
A member of the Rankin and Flowood Chambers of Commerce, J’s sponsors the annual Wilson Research Foundation’s Walk and Roll event. “We are proud to have our business in Rankin County,” says Alex. “When we started here, there wasn’t anything around us, but over the years the city has grown so much. The demographics are ideal. There are now four businesses in the state that do what we do, but we were the first in the state to have a mobility business, and we are still going strong.”