With 50 years under its belt as a manufacturer and supplier of automotive exhaust components and accessories, Jones Exhaust Systems has made its mark in this competitive industry by meeting the needs of the distributors and shops they serve.

That’s how Jones Exhaust CEO David Landreth explains the longevity of the company that was founded by his predecessor Roger Jones, starting the company as a regional supplier with three basic product lines – glasspacks, turbo packs and chrome tips. David bought the company in the fall of 1991 envisioning a company that had growth potential by expanding its market outside the boundaries of the southeast section of the United States. It’s been an ongoing challenge but the company team members have made it happen, he said.

“It took several years for us to expand by making contact with warehouse distributors throughout the country,” he said. “There were numerous competitors back then who made glasspacks and tips. Selling points included the fact that Roger Jones had set a good foundation by making a quality product that some distributors already knew about.” David said building relationships with the distributors and gaining their trust was also a major factor.

“It took some time,” he said. “You just didn’t walk in and make a sale. It was a process that took several years. After we earned their business we got to a point where it became apparent that the only way we could continue to grow was to add new products. I started to ask customers what products I could manufacture and supply them that they needed – to give me some ideas.”

Landreth made a bold move in 2003 buying out and consolidating Full Boar Exhaust from Mountain Home, Ark., with his existing manufacturing facilities in Adamsville, Tenn.

“My main intent when I bought the company was to eliminate a competitor and that would allow me to pick up several large distributors as well. Full Boar was also beginning to sell diesel kits that Jones didn’t offer.

“They were buying various components and putting them together,” David said. “So it put Jones in the diesel-kit business, at least temporarily, when that segment was showing growth.”

Jones continued to look at items its WD customers needed to please shops. Universal exhaust flex couplers, and then Jones Direct Flex couplers, provided a boost to the company when they were introduced, David said. With so many vehicles having front-wheel drive, the torque and vibration caused by the transmission made the OE part be one of the first to fail on a vehicle’s exhaust system.

David’s son Bailey, who is now president, came back to the company several years ago as a director to head up product development. Since being named president, his role has expanded tremendously taking over a myriad of duties in running the manufacturing business.

“Welding wire was the first new product that Bailey added when he returned to the company,” David said. Other introductions under his leadership included the Jones Turbine, stainless resonators, exhaust flanges, cut-off wheels, saw blades, 02 bungs, Flowpack mufflers and most recently exhaust spherical joints that are designed to prevent exhaust-pipe breakage, just like the flex couplers.

“We continue to be very excited about our line of Jones Turbines,” David said. “The sales of those are increasing steadily. There aren’t a lot of items in our industry that you can say that about. We really don’t have any completion on that item like we do on just about everything else.”

The Jones Turbine is available in two versions: the first is primarily designed for racing and has a very aggressive tone; the second, the Jones Turbine XL, has a built-in resonator and has a milder performance sound. The first is the most popular with performance enthusiasts, Bailey said.

“The Jones Turbine is really unique to us as far as the look and its sound,” Bailey added.

“In that product line of polished stainless, we also sell resonators and we’re selling a heck of a lot of them too,” David said.

“They are made with high-polished stainless with a straight-through design with our name on them and look very similar to the Jones Turbines,” Bailey said.

“We’re always looking for something new,” David said. “If we can give our distributors something they haven’t been carrying in the past that their shop customers will buy, it’s a win, win, win for everybody. The welding wire we introduced was the same way. Every muffler shop welds. We could supply the exhaust distributors with an excellent-quality welding wire at a better price than the shops were getting from the welding-supply companies. That was something that the warehouses had never carried before that the muffler shops were buying elsewhere. We saved the shop owners money on a heavy-use item. We added revenue to the WDs because they had never carried it before. And of course, it helped Jones Exhaust as well.

“Jones Exhaust currently sells to about 200 warehouse exhaust distributors, mainly in North America. David qualified the statement, saying that the customer base includes various order cycles “all over the board’ with most getting shipments once a week, every two weeks, every three weeks or monthly. Others are more sporadic. One customer, from Aruba, orders one large shipment a year.

“Back order” is a term that no one at Jones likes to hear, so the work crew at the plant often work overtime in the spring, which is the busiest time of the year for Jones, David said.

David’s youngest son, Wes, also returned to the company a few years ago and was put in charge of the company’s expanded distribution center, which was added to help eliminate back-order situations. Wes made a point to visit with a longtime warehouse distributor to design the interior of the new facility for optimum efficiencies. More recently Wes was promoted to product development/ operations manager. In addition, Wes serves as a communication specialist, working with Jones’ valued customers to better their experiences. He also works closely with National Sales Manager Jim Cartwright, in handling new product development.

Jones is believed to be the largest glasspack manufacturer in the country from what David has determined after visiting with warehouse distributors nationwide. He noted there is no real public information available to know for sure.

“But one of the things we are most proud of is that our glasspacks and our turbo packs are manufactured 100% in the USA. Not too many companies can make that claim.”

Jones’ biggest sellers continue to be its line of exhaust tips with more than 500 part numbers available in chrome and stainless combined. Bailey noted that 26 new exhaust-tip applications will be available at the end of the year. The Jones line of high-performance welded mufflers follows in sales.

While not tied directly to automotive exhaust, Jones is making a name for itself in the motorcycle exhaust segment by producing aftermarket replacement exhaust for popular Harley-Davidson models.

“It’s growing and we have a lot more potential to grow in that category,” David said. “That’s an exciting segment for us.”

“Originally we only had 31/2-inch diameter pipes for the popular Harley bikes but now we have added 4-inch, which is not as simple as just changing from 31/2-inch to 4-inch tubing,” Bailey said. “There are indentions that have to made and it’s a little more complicated to add to that line. Our motorcycles distributors told us that the volume on the 4-inch systems was really growing and we answered their requests.”

Jones celebrated its 50th anniversary this spring treating its team members to an afternoon barbeque that included drawings for gifts, outdoor games and the rest of the day off. “Without them, there would be no Jones Exhaust,” David said.

Jones also plays an active role in its community. David noted that several of the office workers at Jones are active participants for the local Relay for Life chapter that supports the American Cancer Society. Son Wes was recently elected to the McNairy County Chamber of Commerce. He is also in the early stages of helping area schools, hoping to develop a welding skills class for students so they are better prepared for the work force.

David said he is very proud that Jones Exhaust is active in the local community, as well as its involvement in helping those in the exhaust aftermarket. At the May anniversary celebration, he told his team members that he believes the company will continue to progress so a 100th-year celebration will be held as the company continues to serve the aftermarket.

“What makes Jones tick is our customer service,” he said. “Our company motto is ‘whatever it takes.’ If a customer asks us to do something, such as making a special part where he only needs one piece for a customer of his, or expedite a special delivery, anything that we can help them with. If there is any way we can physically do it, we do it.”