CM: How long have you been working in the auto parts business?
ME: This is my 40th year in the automotive parts business. Yes, forty. I started in the winter of 1980 as a driver, and I have worked as a counterperson in various aftermarket stores and dealerships. I’ve been a commercial/installer specialist for ABC Auto Parts, a regional parts chain here in the East Texas/Louisiana area, for the last 10 years.
This is a family-owned company, and they’ve been pretty good to me over the years.
CM: What do you like most about your job?
ME: I love being known for being the best at finding hard-to-find or “weird” parts. My favorite nickname among my customers is “Queen of Sketchy.” I find a deep sense of satisfaction from knowing I can really help my customers.
CM: There must be a story behind the nickname “Queen of Sketchy.”
ME: My late husband worked at a Ford dealer, and he and one of his employees hesitated to call me, because technically they were outside my market, even though they bought from my company. They called aftermarket parts “jinky” or “sketchy.” To them, if it wasn’t Ford, it was jinky or sketchy. And so anything that was weird, the guy who worked for my husband would say, “I’ve got something sketchy here.” And then he would say, “You know what? You are the Queen of Sketchy.”
CM: What’s the strangest question a customer has asked you?
ME: We had a not-very-deep parking lot at one of the stores I worked at. A guy literally pulled into the store. There was glass everywhere. I was scared for a minute, because I was in the store pulling something out in the retail area.
He came in and I waited on him. He said, “I need a price on a master cylinder for my truck.” When I asked him what kind of truck he had, he said, “It’s a pulpwood truck.” And by the way, unfortunately, he declined to buy my $16 master cylinder kit.
CM: What’s the coolest car you’ve ever owned or worked on?
ME: I’ve owned or co-owned a few cool ones: a 1962 Ford Falcon van, a 1969 Camaro, a 1964-1/2 Mustang, a 1969 F-150 with a 455 Olds engine and a 1987 Mustang GT. I would have to say my favorite, though, would be the 2003 Mustang GT convertible my late husband bought me. Wind therapy is very good after a long day at the parts store.
CM: Do you have any interesting hobbies? What do you do for fun?
ME: I enjoy random road trips to take landscape pics to post to Instagram (@mitzireasley, in case anyone is interested).
CM: What’s your dream car?
ME: Dream car? 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT!
CM: Why do you like it so much?
ME: Because … MUSTANG.
I’m mostly a Ford girl. I worked at a Lincoln dealership for three years, and my late husband was a Ford parts manager. So I do kind of tend to lean toward Fords.