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K&J Auto continues auto tradition on corner
by Tom Busselberg
Jun 23, 2011 | 2612 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHEN K&J updated their parking lot years ago, a backhoe discovered an entire two room garage located underneath the building. Courtesy photo
WHEN K&J updated their parking lot years ago, a backhoe discovered an entire two room garage located underneath the building. Courtesy photo
BOUNTIFUL — The 310 S. Main corner that has been home to K & J Auto Sales for 25 years apparently has a long tradition as a vehicle service center.

In Beverly Nowak’s “The Heart of Bountiful Businesses” she says the site housed the old Keddington’s Phillips 66 for many years, prior to its reincarnation as an auto dealership.

Owners Kenny and Shirley Knighton have made it a family business, from the start, Nowak says.

“When they opened Kenny’s dad, Kaye Knighton, helped them get started. Kaye has been interested in cars all his life, also. They go to auctions together and then fix the cars to sell.”

The business has been a place for the children to learn the value of work over the years. Boys Kody, Cariey and Nolan detailed and serviced the cars, while daughter Carli, helped in the office.

Now they bring the grandkids in to “see the shop” and get a feel for the place.

When the parking lot was updated six years ago, removing the old gas pump islands, and installing new water and sewer lines, the Knightons found a surprise.

The backhoe unearthed another building underneath. What they discovered was an intact two-room garage containing many old artifacts, such as a brass headboard, pots and pans, and more. The original ground level was low enough to house an entire garage: the door was simply closed and dirt pushed over it.

“We’ve made a lot of good friends over the years,” Shirley Knighton says.

They’ve sold thousands of cars and financed many people with credit problems, Nowak writes. Customers can either buy or rent a vehicle, with one program called “Rent to Own,” which has “really taken off.”

Many children of original customers are now buying cars from K&J with Shirley Knighton adding, “We’ve made a lot of friends over the years.

“We started as a detail and service shop. We bought all kinds of cars and fixed them and sold them,” Kenny Knighton said.

Before starting this business, Kenny Knighton and his brothers were in the restaurant business in Centerville and Salt Lake City.

The lot’s inventory is kept fresh thanks to twice-weekly visits to the auto auction.

Kenny has been a member of the Independent Car Deals association for many years, while his wife manages the office.

“This has been a good business and we hope to keep going for many years to come,” she said.

The Knighton family has been a downtown mainstay for many years. Ken’s great-grandfather, Joseph Knighton, owned a store on Main Store where the old Co-Op was located, at about 65 S. Main. In fact, Joseph Knighton was granted the right to install the first gasoline stand in Bountiful 97 years ago.

All proceeds from book sales are now being donated to the South Davis Museum project. Books are available at the Bountiful City Hall city manager/mayor’s office, 791 S. 100 E.
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