Car dealer realizes dream

Published 9:43 am Sunday, July 5, 2009

When Jimmy Middlebrooks tore up his knee while attending Marion Military Institute, he was forced to take a new look at his future.

To attempt a start somewhere else, he attended George Wallace Junior College in Selma. It was fate that he met the love of his life, Mary Beth Lempicki.

They attended the Wallace campus, and then Samford. Mary Beth changed her major before transferring to the University of Montevallo.

At the end of their final semester at Samford, Jimmy went to work for Hoover Toyota and the couple married on June 18, 1976. For several years, Jimmy had filled up his car at the convenience store on U.S. 31.

Sherman Holland Ford had a used car lot next door. Jimmy would tell Mary Beth, “Someday I’m going to own that piece of property.”

On Aug. 1, 1980 Crossroads Auto Sales opened at Moore’s Crossroads between Alabaster and Montevallo.

As the businesses reputation grew, Jimmy’s determination and business savvy grew. He already possessed a tremendous love of cars, along with the knowledge of what might be wrong and how to fix it.

In 1983, Jimmy, after much thought, time, effort and haggling, was able to open the business he had long hoped for on U.S. 31 in Alabaster … that piece of property. You will find Jimmy at work most of the time. He told me he loves to go to work because every day is an adventure and you have no idea what that day might bring. His priorities are God, family, work and fun.

“People who turn them around are going to have a problem,” he said.

Jimmy is passionate about being a reputable used car dealer. Used car dealers automatically considered scoundrels, I guess, but Jimmy Middlebrooks has (for more than 34 years) sought to dispel that idea. He stands behind his merchandise.

His hobbies include racing, fixing up old cars, beach bumming, weight lifting and loving Mary Beth.

“She is the love of my life. She is what makes Jimmy Middlebrooks tick,” he said.

Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at